Everyone wants to have their own AI assistant, but not all have the computing power necessary to make it work. IBM, through it’s Watson supercomputer, is looking to bridge this gap of technological capabilities by creating simple way of deploying AI. One that is so easy to use that a group of undergrads managed to create a business solution in just 11 weeks.
IBM doesn’t refer to Watson as artificial intelligence. It doesn’t quite fall into that category at this moment in time. Instead, the company uses the term Augment Intelligence. It doesn’t quite think for itself. Instead, it is a computer that’s capable of understanding simple human input and responding in the appropriate manner.
A briefing with the media demonstrated the ease in which Watson can be deployed. Without the need for advanced programming expertise. IBM instead uses a visual based programming language; displaying actions and instructions as tags with nodes. Nodes can be connected to one another to create a process flow. The setup almost feels like Lego for computers.
That said, we believe that the engineers behind the demo did a lot of the work long before the media entered the room.
Similar, IBM invite a group of students from Monash University to demonstrate their own work with Watson. The group was left without instructions on how to go about their task and given on 11 weeks to come up with a product of some sort. Needless to say, they managed to utilise Watson’s analytical capabilities to create a business solution for tracking online conversations regarding brands. Most of which was figuring out if people are saying good things about the company.
The system is largely a demonstration of how IBM believes Watson can be deployed by businesses in the region. Even if the organisations in question lack the technical ability to create their own complex solutions.
Most of these applications are currently being deployed internally by businesses; which is why IBM is unable to provide specifics about how Watson is being used. Despite this, there is at least one public facing example of a Watson powered chatbot. Although it happens to be used by the Inland Revenue Department in Singapore. And isn’t really helpful for Malaysians.