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posted by janrinok on Saturday October 29 2016, @01:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the not-here-it-won't dept.

In the next five years, every important decision, whether it's business or personal, will be made with the assistance of IBM Watson. That's the vision of IBM president and CEO Ginni Rometty, in a keynote speech at IBM's World of Watson conference Wednesday.

Watson, the company's artificial intelligence-fueled system, is working in fields like health care, finance, entertainment and retail, connecting businesses more easily with their customers, making sense of big data and helping doctors find treatments for cancer patients.

The Watson system is set to transform how businesses function and how people live their lives. "Our goal is augmenting intelligence," Rometty said. "It is man and machine. This is all about extending your expertise. A teacher. A doctor. A lawyer. It doesn't matter what you do. We will extend it."

Is one woman's vision another man's nightmare?


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Snotnose on Saturday October 29 2016, @01:56AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Saturday October 29 2016, @01:56AM (#420011)

    Sounds like all their other business units are falling apart, they need something to stay relevant.

    IBM, the poster child of what happens when you cut your 20-30 year veterans and bring in H1-Bs and contractors from India.

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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29 2016, @03:32AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29 2016, @03:32AM (#420023)

    Nay-saying aside, this COULD be that very thing...assuming what they have is not vaporware.

    I tried to find something technical on it a while ago for personal interest and could not. Mostly just vapid marketing videos talking about what people "could" be doing with it. The only tech one I could find just described things at a very high level.

    But this is the sort of tech that could take off VERY quickly.

    Once the nut is cracked so to speak, conquering domains one after another is much easier. The natural language maps it boasts could be useful in all sorts of generic ways.

    A shame it was not open source. I have no faith in IBM's stewardship of such a thing - they are not a very good software company.

    Nevertheless, I will believe it when I see it as they say....

    • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Saturday October 29 2016, @03:53AM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Saturday October 29 2016, @03:53AM (#420031)

      That's the scary thing. Watson could be good enough to do the job. Then all the hedge fund managers and tech company managers will say "Hey, fuck the expensive fucks, fire them and bring in H1-B'S and Indian contractors!"

      Never mind it was the 20-30 year vets who created Watson......

      --
      The 3 symptoms of laziness: 1) think of something tomorrow 2)
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29 2016, @09:44AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 29 2016, @09:44AM (#420073)

        Watson aims, like many AI/robotics projects today, to make a whole lot of people redundant. In some areas they already have. It is inevitable so arguing against it is also pointless.

        Being "scared" about it is pointless also. (Americans really do seem to have this thing about being "scared" about everything)

        I think we should instead be working on ideas for the new future and a plan for how to achieve it. That is what we need more than anything.

        Also people tend to be selective about which areas (and nationalities) they care about....

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Saturday October 29 2016, @10:43AM

          Also people tend to be selective about which areas (and nationalities) they care about....

          Yes, sane people tend to care about themselves, their family, their neighborhood, their town, their part of the country, their country, their part of the world, and the rest of the world. In that order. It takes a seriously disturbed individual to place people they have never met and will never meet above the home team so to speak. And an ego the size of the planet to think you know best what's best for the entire world.

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          My rights don't end where your fear begins.
      • (Score: 2) by TheLink on Saturday October 29 2016, @07:25PM

        by TheLink (332) on Saturday October 29 2016, @07:25PM (#420221) Journal

        The mistakes ( http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/Latest-News-Wires/2011/0215/On-Jeopardy-Watson-s-mistakes-reveal-its-genius [csmonitor.com] ) Watson makes show how little it really understands. So it would be a bad move to get rid of the people at this point.

        Watson is like a well trained idiot picking out answers from a pool of answers based on some heuristics and memorizing to not pick the wrong answers.

        It's good enough for some things but I doubt it's good enough to be allowed to work on anything really important without supervision.

        In contrast I daresay even rats have more understanding of the world than Watson does: http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2015/05/rats-forsake-chocolate-save-drowning-companion [sciencemag.org]

        And definitely crows and ravens despite them having brains only the size of walnuts.

        I personally prefer if we took the path of augmenting humans. The technologies involved would be similar but the end results could be different. The AI approach may lead to more humans ending up as slaves or pets while the augmenting approach may be a better future for more of us.