Can Cognitive Computing Provide Your Business an Edge?

Can Cognitive Computing Provide Your Business an Advantage?Can Cognitive Computing Provide Your Business an Advantage?

How do you compete in a more complex world? What would it take to help you make better decisions faster? Could you get comfortable working with a thinking partner who is constantly learning and evolving? No, not me. I’m talking about cognitive computing!

Are you up for the challenge? Let’s talk about what makes cognitive computing such a game changer!

I’m going to World of Watson next week. For me, this is like going to a great art exhibit or a rock concert with Imagine Dragons (which incidentally, I’m doing next week!). The big difference is you get to choose what you are going to see and hear. Rock on!

I’ve been promised that by the time I get done, I will be able to help my clients, and you, decide if cognitive computing is the right investment for their organizations today. How would you like a front row seat to hear what many of the people who are leading the cognitive computing revolution have to say?

Today, I share some of the things I’ve learned about cognitive computing, so far. Stick with me over the next several weeks and you’ll have a better understanding of what cognitive computing is and how it might be applied to grow your business. Today I’m just going to share a basic understanding of what makes cognitive computing work!

Cognitive computing is different than any technology we’ve ever seen. It is designed to learn from a variety of sources of information. It has the ability to improve and learn in a way similar to humans. It has several advantages over how we learn. The main ones are that it doesn’t have any biases and it doesn’t get tired. At least I don’t think it gets tired, but I may be wrong.

Cognitive computing has the ability to evaluate conflicting hypotheses based on what it knows at the time. As it adds additional information or data it can come to new conclusions. It can look at information from multiple perspectives to help determine which solution is going to be the best one for you. I could have used this when booking my flight to Las Vegas.

Conflicting hypotheses is one of the things that has made leaders throughout history masters of their environment. It’s one of the foundations of strategic thinking. The more we are able to hold opposing ideas and solutions in our minds at the same time, the more we can accomplish. This doesn’t always mean we choose the best solution for our challenges. How many bad data driven marketing campaigns must we endure?

Cognitive computing can report several conclusions to the same problem. It can also order the findings based on facts and its confidence in the evidence. This means that it can share ideas in a logical order.  Cognitive computing offers you choices when the individual may be able to only see one or two solutions. Think of breaking curfew when you were young, it was either running out of gas or a flat tire.  Just think of how many other options you might have had!

Many times, your solutions come out of a combination of facts, life experiences, values, and education. In other words, we aren’t sure how we came up with our solutions so we call them intuition or hunches. Does this mean that cognitive computing can’t be creative? Well, not exactly.

Cognitive computing is able to discover patterns in data. Many times cognitive computing efforts are determined by the person asking the question. Ask a better question and you identify a better pattern. Cognitive computing can actually develop new questions and ways of looking at things.

Another advantage of cognitive computing is that it can use multiple patterns and processes to examine information. It allows you to shape the information into many different scenarios. I do this for a living, it’s a great job but it can take weeks to create multiple scenarios. Cognitive computing can do it in hours. Planning analytics are going to give you control of your organization’s financial future.

This is a good and bad thing. Given more choices means some people won’t make any choice. More information can be overwhelming.  Good thinking partners help you eliminate choices so that your decision becomes clear. They will also have a bias towards action. I wonder if Watson can pester you the way I do my clients?

Cognitive computing emulates the way we learn. It has the ability to work in multiple domains to uncover the best answer. Cognitive processes duplicate our natural learning processes. In other words, its duplicates memory management and knowledge organization and can model our flexible brain structures and processes. Basically, Watson is a lot more like us than we might be comfortable with.

Cognitive computing uses Natural Language Processing to allow it to interact more easily with users. It allows deep learning tools to extract features from images, video, voice, and sensors. It processes information in a way that is similar to how our children do when they are young.

These capabilities explain why children learn so much more quickly than we do as adults. I wonder if cognitive computers are naturally inquisitive. It also means that cognitive technologies can learn at a child’s pace.

This allows us to provide cognitive analytics a wider range of sources for its input and learning. They are constantly learning and growing. This is a quantum level improvement over technologies of the past.

Finally, imagine using predictive analytics algorithms and statistical techniques to help you make better decisions. You now have a thinking partner who never rests. One that can choose from an infinite number of tools to help you come up with the right answer. The possibilities are endless.

Now that you know the basics, let’s get started. I wanted to provide you some foundational thinking on cognitive computing before I leave for Las Vegas for World of Watson. I guarantee you’re going to want to be here as we share success stories and shortcuts that will help you decide what role cognitive computing plays in your business and life.

See you next week.

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