An Immersive Experience With IBM Watson

Page 2 : IBM Watson Q&A Part 1/2

The IBM Watson Q&A Part 1/2

  1. What is IBM Watson?
  • IBM Watson is a cognitive intelligent system that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amount of unstructured data. It has the capability to tackle tough problems in every industry from healthcare to finance.
  • Through understanding the data it learns from human input, it is not only able to improve its response accuracy but also understand trends that can then be utilised to generate business insights.
  • Watson is powered by 50 underlying cognitive technologies – including natural language processing, machine learning and deep learningto provide capabilities that span language, speech, vision and data insights.


  1. Can you tell us about Watson’s history? Who are the brains behind its inception?
  • IBM has been researching, developing and investing in AI technology for more than 50 years. The rise of big data (2.5 billion gigabytes of data are created every single day) and the world’s need to make sense of it all – is what ultimately led IBM researchers to develop Watson.
  • When IBM Watson won the historic Jeopardy! exhibition on TV in 2011, it was a watershed moment. And since then we’ve only accelerated our innovation, advancing and scaling the Watson platform and applying it to many industries, including healthcare, finance, commerce, education, security and IoT. We’ve engaged thousands of scientists and engineers from IBM Research and Development, and partnered with our clients, academics, external experts and even our competitors, to explore all topics around AI.

  • IBM Research is today the largest industrial research organization in the world, with twelve labs on six continents, and the company invests $6 billion on R&D.
  • The labs are viewed as one of IBM’s greatest assets and a vital part of defining the future. In August 2016, we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Almaden research lab. Today, Almaden’s research community focuses on solving problems across areas as diverse as nanomedicine, services science, atomic scale storage, food safety and medical image analytics.


  1. What are some of IBM Watson’s accomplishments in the real world today?
  • Since its debut, Watson solutions are now being built, used and deployed around the world and across industries, including healthcare, financial services, travel and retail. Since 2015, IBM has seen a 400 percent increase in Watson app creation on Bluemix, an increase of over tenfold over the last year.
  • Watson has played a role in supporting more than 200 million patients through healthcare systems in the U.S., China, Japan, Thailand and India, collaborating with doctors, helping improve treatment recommendations and helping deliver more efficient care.
  • Watson is also available to more than 200 million consumers to answer their questions, find what they need and make recommendations with greater personalization.
  • At the same time, Watson is tackling dozens of meaningful business and societal challenges, helping reduce building emissions, reducing hiring cycles and finding ways for cities to save more water and other resources. In education, half a million students can choose their courses to master a subject with Watson and we’re also helping teachers address each student’s unique needs.


  1. With the interaction between IBM Watson and regular users becoming increasingly more complex and utilize more of the user’s personal information, is there a potential risk for loss of privacy for users in an unfortunate incident?
  • While Watson is indeed able to process more forms of information, we have also ensured that we have developed safety measures within Watson as well as continue to work with our industry partners all to ensure that the data that Watson has access to is not accessible by any unauthorized third-parties.


  1. It was mentioned that IBM Watson understands natural languages. What does this mean and what languages does it support?
  • IBM Watson is able to understand sentences spoken by people by analysing the words used as well as the context of the sentence in order to accurately interpret sentences.
  • Currently IBM Watson is able to understand and reply in nine different languages including German, Spanish, Korean, Japanese and English to name a few. We are also constantly updating Watson with additional languages to allow more people in the world to experience him.
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  1. Why is understanding natural human speech such a complex task for artificial intelligence systems to perform?
  • The primary difficulty when it comes to recognizing human speech is that natural speech is inherently filled with unstructured data, and this is the same across all forms of content written by humans for other humans.
  • The main difference is that normal structured data is governed by well-defined rules whereas speech is governed by rules of grammar, context and culture which is implicit, ambiguous and complex.
  • With a host of factors to consider and eliminate, recognizing speech can be both a time-consuming task as well as one that is open to a host of errors if not interpreted correctly.


  1. What is the systems implemented into Watson that allows him to easily comprehend human speech?
  • To facilitate IBM Watson to better tackle the challenge of understanding human speech, Watson is fitted with two different set of APIs that give it the ability to both comprehend and respond to human interactions: Natural Language Understanding (NLU) & Watson Conversation.
  • The Natural Language Understanding API allows Watson to analyze text to extract meta-data from content such as keywords, entities, sentiment, emotion, relations and many more.
  • Watson Conversation, on the other hand, functions as a visual dialog builder that helps create natural conversations for Watson that can be deployed on chatbots and other virtual agents.

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