IBM's John E. Kelly III, who looks after "Watson" amongst other things, led this morning's World of Watson keynote with that statement. At first, I didn't take it literally but as he continued his presentation, I realized that he meant exactly what he said, justifiably so. And this is why Cognitive Computing / Watson has captured the imagination and attention of the global business community.

What exactly is "Watson"?

This isn't an easy answer, especially considering my interest in keeping things simple but here it goes.

Whenever something is "digitized" or made "digital", it creates an on-going stream of data like digital footprints that can be collected, measured, analyzed and acted upon. The resulting insights can then inform future decision making which can help folks do more of what's working, less of what isn't.

Given that we're in a time of tremendous acceleration in terms of all things digital, the data generated by digitization and massive amounts of behavioral activity happening within digital environments (i.e. social media) is quickly overwhelming our traditional means of managing and understanding the data.

Enter "Watson".

"Watson" helps businesses make smarter decisions through Cognitive Systems designed to collect, measure and analyze data in ways that were previously not possible. Where things get especially interesting is the learning aspect of the system.

Thanks to machine learning, natural language processing, automation and other areas connected to "Artificial Intelligence"(AI), Watson is trained and then becomes progressively smarter as it recognizes patterns, compares historical data to real-time-data that its monitoring and ultimately generates actionable insights that allow businesses to make better decisions.

While I could probably over communicate a bit here and get into the weeds, instead I'll let this awesome 90-second vignette of Woodside, Australia's largest energy company that has leveraged "Watson" to build a cognitive system, speak to the concept further as it does so in a much more creative and engaging way than me rambling on...

My favorite part of the video by far is the quote that personifies "Watson":

"We teach Watson to think like an engineer. Watson teaches us to think like 1000 engineers from 1000 different sources."

This quote, about 60 seconds into the video, encapsulates the power of Cognitive Computing and the impact "Watson" can have to propel businesses through the 4th Industrial Revolution.

As Pepper would say, "wait, there's more"

I would have loved to have figured out a way to incorporate Pepper's"throwing shade" comment at 55 minutes 45 seconds into that video clip in a more natural way but oh well...

An interesting way to think about what's next is to consider the competitive advantages of investing in the embrace of cognitive today.

It probably makes sense to do so while recognizing how early we are in the explosion of data being generated today, the value created by Tech companies over the last decade and the changes in the S&P that reinforce the pace of change we're all experiencing.

There are 3 types of data to consider:

  1. Data you own and is behind your firewall (20% of data today)
  2. Data outside your firewall, primarily unstructured (80% of data today)
  3. Data that's coming, thanks to IoT, sensors etc (projected to double total data available every 12 months)

$2 Trillion in market value created by tech companies over the past decade:

  • 40% of the value created came from new companies
  • 60% of the value created came from existing companies

On average, an S&P company is being replaced EVERY TWO WEEKS.

*LOVED Josh Sutton's (Publicis.Sapient) presentation which is where the last 2 quotes came from*

More to come from me and my massive geek out session with Watson this week but safe to say the following statement is more true today than it was yesterday...

Disrupt yourself or be disrupted.

E:; T/IG: @Alec_Coughlin