From the onset of human history, curiosity has been paired with the desire to thrive, resulting in practical and revolutionary inventions that have altered the way people live, discover, and make decisions. As these inventions have evolved, we have evolved with them—creating more advanced technologies that have the capacity to replace the human body (and perhaps even the human mind).

Cognitive computing, notably associated in the minds of the masses with the instance of Watson in Jeopardy, can alter the way we assimilate and interpret large quantities of data. Unlike programmed systems, cognitive computing systems—like IBM’s Watson—combine human reasoning capabilities with an advanced aptitude for data mining to uncover unseen trends and new insights. According to IBM, cognitive computing systems can “learn and function as humans” by applying human reasoning to large amounts of complex, and even self-contradictory data[1], all the while learning from “interactions, outcomes and new pieces of information[2].”

While cognitive computing is in many ways still an emerging technology, its potential to create high-value business opportunities is endless—especially in the realm of corporate training and development.

Working in tandem with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), a cognitive computing system can act as a knowledgeable and unbiased expert for “How do I?” or “How should I?” inquiries—serving as a valuable, go-to resource for employees across different departments and locations within an organization.

Providing a single access point for proprietary knowledge and industry-specific intelligence could prove especially beneficial for positions that require heavy reliance on the relevancy and credibility of information in regular decision-making activities. Business scenarios where multiple sets of complex data must be carefully examined to find a solution, such as those that are common for industry professionals in the practice of law, medicine or science, pose a significant opportunity to combine cognitive computing expertise with human intelligence to solve advanced problems.

Working alongside bright human minds, cognitive computing systems house the potential to not only serve as a reliable information house to help people overcome workplace challenges and solve various problems, but they also harness the potential to use predictive analysis to identify risks, opportunities and trends within the market[3].With the capability to make highly educated discoveries without requiring human assistance, cognitive computing systems have the potential to dramatically increase business intelligence and medical or scientific knowledge—expanding the horizon
of possibilities for corporate learning in a way we’ve never seen before.

Want to learn more about cognitive computing? Visit IBM’s online research center.

[1] http://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/gb/en/gbe03641usen/GBE03641USEN.PDF

[2] http://public.dhe.ibm.com/common/ssi/ecm/gb/en/gbe03656usen/GBE03656USEN.PDF

[3] http://www.ibm.com/cognitive/outthink/

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