A Great Simian or just a Monkey

cognitive business Page 1 of 2

watson financial chatbot

We built a Watson Powered Financial Companion

I have wanted to share this for a while and it never seemed to be the right moment. Well, here it is! This started as a vision a while ago, originally based on an idea from my brother-in-arms Carl and together we brought it to this (Peter & Svante not to be forgotten as co-conspirators as well).

This is an IBM Watson-powered cognitive financial companion for your complex financial life.

The video walks you through a day in your life with your financial lifestyle companion.

Above, in the video, is your financial companion that wants to inject value in every transaction you make and improve your complex financial life.

The simple background is that our personal financial lives are complex and scattered all over the place, the customer experience is usually really bad and we are constantly ripped off by fees / bad advice. Today with cognitive platforms like IBM Watson and more intuitive user experience through chatbots and other methods, we can actually improve our financial lives with products like this one. One important thing is to actually empower the users and not only capitalize on them.

It is powered by IBM Watson APIs and a lot of nice mojo from our team.

The gap between words and action in cognitive business

One of the biggest challenges with the cognitive era and for enterprises to adopt this shift is in my opinion, two things. The first is the gap between the tech and the business, which leads to the constant question “How do we start?”. The second one is that most companies selling this tech have a salesforce that is used to sell other things and have not had time to adapt to selling cloud-based cognitive solutions to their customers.


The gap between tech and business

Traditionally companies selling software to the enterprises have a preset business proposition. An example is SAP for financial or Salesforce CRM for sales. If we go a bit more tech it can be a database to store things in or it can be an application server to have our apps running. With AI and cognitive computing, it is something else. We hear all these execs talk and talk about how great cognitive businesses, products and processes will be, but how do we convert these high-level talks to become concrete solutions that will evolve our business? I read a post on the Watson blog the other day and it contained a video of several execs from IBMs Watson unit that talked about how great cognitive business and cognitive computing are (IBM is an example, it could be Google, Facebook or Microsoft, but since I often post pro-IBM posts they can be the example in this post). Try to make something out of the video that you and I can convert into real-life adoption. Really hard, isn’t it?

Additional fun from the video:

  1. The title of the video is “How IT and Watson are partnering in the Cognitive Era”. Ok, what does that even mean? The video does not give a single indication on how IT and Watson even partner, on what level or in what way?
  2. A quote from the video “Adopting cognitive solutions is not as difficult as it sounds!” I agree, but the “how” or “why” is completely absent.
  3. What the heck is Watson anyway? Is it a product, a suite, a platform, APIs, a human, a computer,? If it is supposed to be easy, like the video insinuates, it might be a good idea to make that crystal clear what Watson really is. If you have read some of my posts you hopefully know the answer though.

Number 3 in the list is a big challenge I would say. It needs to be very clear what Watson is for companies to grasp the potential of what they can do with cognitive solutions like Watson (I think it is the same with Googles products within this space). In Watsons case it gives each salesperson the right to interpret this to their benefit. This happens every day at IBM when sales uses the Watson terminology to push clients towards “their” Watson product (if in Analytics, you sell Watson Analytics, if in Cloud you sell Bluemix and the Watson APIs etc). From a short-term pipeline point of view it might be good, but for the customers I doubt it is good.

We need to bridge the gap between high-level executives like those in the video and the APIs, this so it becomes easier for companies to actually adopt and become more cognitive. If this does not happen I am afraid many companies will miss huge opportunities and the cognitive software providers will miss out on great revenues from their great software.

What happens today is that you get either the high-level exec buzzword-ish mumbo jumbo or the deep deep tech talks about how the tech actually work, usually only with one single API (or pre-packaged solution like Watson Virtual Assistant). That will not build great cognitive businesses.

A new salesman / women is required

Selling cognitive solutions requires a new type of salesperson. The classic software sales rep has a portfolio of boxes that is dressed up for each company it is presented to and wrapped in a nice business case, usually a business case that is applicable to many customers, not only one. The new type of salesperson needs to look at things differently, it is mainly about creating the value proposition together with the customer. Cognitive is not a product it is an enabler to make your business better and faster. It is up to us as sales and business developers to actually understand and apply these new technologies to our clients and customers. Why is this a problem? Simple, customers do not get the best solutions presented to them by their salesreps. They get pre-fabricated food, when they could get the two-star Guide Michelin dinner. They would probably pay less as well and get a solution that over-delivered on their expectations.

Why sell pre-fabricated frozen pizza when you can sell a personal dinner at a 2 star Guide Michelin restaurant?

Companies that sell cognitive computing APIs like Watson need to shift to a new salesforce. Another great thing is that this new salesforce will also think cloud-first and not old on-prem software. They will understand how these cognitive APIs exist in the cloud in a secure and compliance ready way. Most of your old salesreps will have a really hard time converting their old way of selling to selling APIs in the cloud (at least in the right way). I would say that the only way to trigger a shift of the old reps is to change how they are compensated and completely shift to cloud based incentives, otherwise they will stick to their old stuff (I sell what I know works).

This post is almost without a specific topic, just one thing I felt needed out of my system. Salesreps, get your act together and start to sell real value to your clients, they will appreciate it. Put in the extra work to build a case for your clients that match their needs and their business, they will value it and it will hopefully be a fruitful relationship for everyone involved.


Photo credit: Origami T-Rex by Jo Nakashima

cognitive pre-requisits

Tell me what I do not know!

Artificial Intelligence will be a huge part of our daily lives and in our businesses from now on, but what we see today is not always Artificial Intelligence or my preferred term, Augmented Intelligence. It is just re-packed machine learning with a conversational interface. AI and cognitive are not only algorithms it is so much more. Many high-end AI / Cognitive products today are not mainly algorithm, that goes for Google DeedMind as well as IBM Watson.

Without further rambling, I thought I would state my position on the topic. It is actually pretty simple. A product, service or process that will be an AI-enabled or cognitive shall have one single pre-requisite in my opinion.

An AI, cognitive product or process should tell us things we do not already know. If not, it is not AI or Cognitive!

If it does not meet that “general” term, it is not AI or Cognitive, period! AI and cognitive per se is to think, learn and reason etc, but to provide value in a business and to assist us, we need to guide our software in a way that they provide information, solutions and data that we could not generate ourselves with resources at hand.

The future of software in the enterprise is about elevating both us as humans, and our business. Efficiency and speed is fantastic, but that is nothing new, it is what we have today!

I think that in 5 years most processes and things we do in a company will be elevated by cognitive elements. AI and Cognitive will be everywhere.

Photo: From a morning walk last week in my new hometown.

ai chatbots and cognitive platforms

Cognitive Platforms are the future, not Bots and AI

Wherever you turn, whatever magazine you read, you see Bots, more Bots. Most of them sprinkled with Artificial Intelligence. In my view, this is a flawed and wrong assumption. The future is a platform that makes processes cognitive. A cognitive platform that will enable processes to think, learn, reason, solve problems and communicate in the expected domain and in the expected language. Bots and Artificial Intelligence are part of this platform.

The future is cognitive platforms!

Just a bot is just plain stupid, it does what you tell it to do, it is very much like traditional programming, the program does what it is programmed to do, nothing more, nothing less. It is a fun interface and an innovative communicative interaction. To escape the risk of endless loops and repeating the same stupid standard answer over and over again, we sprinkle some artificial intelligence on the poor Bot. Now we have a Bot that understands what you are saying to it and also can reply with a bit more elaborative answer then the basic standardized sentences. Does that mean that the Bot will actually assist us in our daily life and improve our performance as humans?

The above is true to a certain degree, in some cases, it will improve our lives, but mainly in the way of speed to information, the Bot will not tell us things we could not find out in other ways, it will just find it fast and deliver it to us. Such Bots are already here and have been for decades. Bots are simply put another type of interface.

The sprinkled AI is mainly about language and algorithms, a subset of the real meaning of AI. Languages in the sense that the Bot will understand you, classify what you intend to communicate and also often do this in several languages. A flaw today is that we often confuse machine learning and algorithms with the true meaning AI. It cannot be AI when most of the time it is a formula created in a spreadsheet that we then put to work on extensive amounts of data to help us to provide insight and conclusions to the user or the company. That is just machine learning. This is often done in very impressive ways (Spotifys Discover Weekly is a good example here), I have personally built companies mainly based on machine learning, so I am not in any way negative to the practice. It is just that it often (not in the Spotify case, just to be clear, they use machine learning) is described as AI and that it is the overall future of tech and in that I disagree. Why? Well, let’s start by looking at what AI is according to Wikipedia

Colloquially, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”.

So, according to Wikipedia all is fine, cognitive and AI is the same, but that is not the way it is translated into today’s tech-world. Most describe AI as a combination of Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing and Algorithms. With this in mind, I prefer the “cognitive” term instead of AI. The AI term is in many ways already destroyed by those who claim to do AI, but mainly does Machine Learning and NLP based on structured data.

Lets not forget that 80% of todays information today is unstructured, not even possible to interpret for most systems today.

Today 80% of the information we have at hand is unstructured, that means that very few computers can work with that data in a valuable way. To be able to understand millions of medical journals or law books from all over the world the computer need to be able to learn, reason etc as well as to learn the domain specific language. You cannot apply an algorithm from a spreadsheet to accomplish this, a software that is very close to a human brain is needed. A cognitive platform learns, communicates and does problem-solving.

The Cognitive Doctor vs the Human Doctor (example)

Over the years we have done tremendous research on cancer. We also have a huge amount of medical journals on cancer patients. Let’s play the role of the doctor. You think you have read a lot about cancer, and this specific version of cancer. You have also been in practice for 20+ years so you have seen your fair share of cancer patients passing by as well as written a lot of research papers on the topic, which would classify you as a very knowledgeable and experienced doctor within the field.

A patient walks in with the diagnoses of cancer, the specific cancer type that you are experienced in. You look at the journal and talk to the patient. Given the research reports you have done over the years, as well as the one you have read from others in combination with your experience in the field you come to the conclusion that a specific type of treatment would be the best way to progress. Hopefully, the patient gets well and all is good.

Now, if the doctors working process would be cognitive the cognitive parts of the process would read ALL available research, ALL available medical journals. This in combination with getting all the data and info about the person incl. historical sickness and traumas etc that the patient might have. Again, let’s not forget that most of this data is actually unstructured and not even readable to most computers today. The cognitive process looks at all data (structured and unstructured) and swiftly replies to the Human Doctor with three alternatives (including the info these recommendations are based upon) for treatments for the patient, including a ranking on which alternative might be most suitable for this patient.

Now, the truth is that no doctor in the world can keep all information inside his / her head, the truth is that most of us tend to do what we have seen previous success with. What a cognitive enabled process now have given us is three alternatives for the Human Doctor to consider. It is still the Human Doctors decision, but the help presented might give new angles and new info that the Human Doctor actually had not considered. The decision is still the doctors, the decision is now only based on a more trustworthy base of data and information. Still presented to the patient by its doctor without even knowing that a computer actually helped a lot in providing the best treatment for you.

Is this pure fiction? Actually not! 

What is the future then? It is cognitive platforms!

For me, the success in this space lies in how well a company makes its processes cognitive. Cognitive will never be a specific product (like a Smart Bot) it will be integrated into existing (or new) business processes. Damn, that sounds boring, but let’s be honest here, most companies have defined ways of working aka processes. Most of these processes can be vastly improved by making them cognitive. To be clear, it is not new processes it is about making existing processes cognitive and by that more efficient, more valuable and more productive.

To be able to do this a process needs to be able to access different cognitive functions and consume them where appropriate. I could be to read, learn and understand a law book (and solve legal obstacles) or thousands of medical journals (like the cancer doctor example above) or it could be to find certain objects in millions of images or to analyze incoming communication, voice or e-mail, to be able to give a better customer experience, it could also be to give a quick, accurate  and personal (tone, personality) reply (in the right language) to a customer that interacts with the company.

This is only provided by a cognitive platform and not by a bot or AI (as positioned today by tech companies), but both are important parts of the cognitive platform.

PS I think I will break down this rant rambling post in a few more specific posts on the topics of cognitive platform, cognitive process etc Stay tuned DS

Photo from the movie Big Hero 6 by Disney

cognitive transparency

Transparency is the future

Transparency will be the key to success in the era of artificial intelligence and cognitive. With all new technology also comes new challenges. In the artificial intelligence and cognitive area of technology one main challenge is how to manage privacy and integrity.

Currently artificial intelligence and cognitive products are the new hot and trendy topic and also it seems to be the new hot area for new startups.

Disclaimer: The company I have co-founded, Monies, is one of those. Our goal is to unify your financial life and bring meaning and consciousness to your financial life. By that we are naturally in the needles eye of this post and transparency will be one of a few keys to our success.

Since these systems and technologies are a lot about emotions and to learn about how we as humans work and to learn, reason and have a conversation based on the input you provide, it is essential that we trust the technology and that we know 100% that the info is secure, not shared and private only to me. Already at this stage there are a lot of risk and many will fail.

In my opinion we will also need to be really assured that my data is not mixed with other persons or organizations data. This is important since most of the AI / cognitive platforms are….platforms. This means that all data goes into “one” place and not on your own dedicated instance or server. Most platforms, Facebook, Google, Amazon or IBM are physically based in huge data centers and all data is physically stored in the same environment as other individuals or organizations data. For these organizations to be able to build the necessary trust that our data is secure and private to us or our organization, transparency will be of outmost importance to establish this trust.

If we push the topic it is the same as when you share information with another human, you need to feel that you trust that individual prior to sharing sensitive information. Since these technologies replicates a lot of the behavior we have as humans. Would you share your private info if you knew that the other person immediately shared that info with the rest of his company or even other companies that they are also doing business with, would not think so.

Even though machines replicate a lot of our behavior today, some things are hard to establish, like trust. Enter the revenge of transparency. Transparency have long be pushed down in the value-chain in favor of capitalizing on our private data, companies like Facebook, Google and others that have as a business-model to re-sell your data to companies that want to reach you with their message. Their business model is to sell your data, you are the product.

This will not compute in the era of AI and cognitive. We will, in my opinion, be much more restricted in what we share about ourselves if we do not feel safe and secure.

Ai and cognitive as technologies are already here to stay so this is not a post against these technologies, the opposite, I believe strongly in them, even so much that I have started a company in the segment.

We and everyone else in the segment need to be fully transparent about the following:

  1. How we store the data
  2. How we keep it safe
  3. That personal information is not shared and truly personal
  4. Provide info on the reasoning on the answers provided
  5. Provide evidence that backs the answers that are provided

Only then can a artificial intelligence and cognitive technologies really become as successful as they are expected to become.

I will end this post with a quote rom Rob High, IBM Fellow and CTO of IBM Watson, in a Mashable article on the topic recently.

They’re subject to the human condition — that is, all of the forms of expression that we leverage to communicate our thoughts, ideas and knowledge, and all of the experiences that we’re exposed to that shapes those thoughts — cognitive systems don’t behave like other deterministic (mathematically modeled) computing systems. They are subject to the same ambiguities, nuances, subtleties and lack of universal truth that we as humans are subject to. They, like other human experts, are only really held up as an expert when we develop trust in them. Cognitive systems, like other human experts, have to establish that trust by being transparent about why they believe what they believe — answer what they answer. And in doing so, they will reveal whether they are acting nefariously or not.

Photo: The top photo is taken from a train entering Stockholm a rainy winter day in December. I thought the wet window could symbolize some transparency.

Cognitive Business Part 2 – Marketing

Cognitive Marketing will bring a lot of vagueness out of digital marketing and digital business. Most areas of marketing will benefit from becoming cognitive. Lets start with four bullets that you will recognize.

  1. Conversation
  2. Personalization
  3. Retention
  4. Conversion

Now, these are in no way new to anyone who have worked in digital marketing or anything digital for that matter, what is new though is naturally how it is done. Prior to this new era we have struggled to talk to people in a way so they feel engaged and intrigued to continue (1), this manly since the information that has been talked about have not been “for me”, we want the “other end” to know me that much so the information is very much personalized (2), it often feels like it is for someone else and often oversold as well, it is simply not engaging enough and it is often hard to find why I should continue, easier to unsubscribe / cancel / de-register etc (3). we struggle with conversion rates and penetrate all goals and metrics in Google Analytics to see why people drop off at different places, trying to iterate with small technical and graphical details, all to convert more people, that is after all the end-game. As a potential customer we often feel like we are in a real-life store and the staff is putting things in our basket and then pushing us towards the cashier (4), this without knowing what we want or if we want to ask something etc, if we just could get some personal service, we would “convert” much faster…and naturally return to us over and over again (3 again).

I know what people from the different marketing department are saying. “We are doing that, we are listening, we are personal, we do participate in conversations and are accessible….and our conversion-rate is way higher then average in our vertical / category”.

Let me say this, you are all doing a great job, this considering the tools at hand, but if you are honest with yourself, how much do you really know about your customers, how individual is the information you are pushing, how good is your retention or is it mainly campaign-spikes….and lastly, if you think about it a bit, the conversion-rate you are so proud of, if being really honest towards yourself, is it high or simply extremely low, just high compare to competition?

Cognitive marketing is mainly about taking all the techie stuff out and putting some humanity in there. Make our potential customers feel like they are seen and heard and that we offer them things they really want to buy.

As with most cognitive this is a way to make the digital world very much more like the real world, so if you think of my last section and the numbers you are so proud of, if you had the same amount of visitors in your “real-life-store” would you still be proud of how you communicate, sell and the conversion-rate you have?

  • Offline world: Low amount of visitors, more personal, recognition, high retention and conversion.
  • Online world: High amount of visitors, little to not at all personal, limited recognition, ok retention, low conversion.
  • Cognitive world: High amount of visitors, personal, recognition, high retention, high conversion.

Naturally above is simplified, but you get the picture, now lets dig into who it actually could play out.

Cognitive Marketing

Let´s immediately look at an example. You want to sell more ecological clothes, but do not know how to reach your potential customers, get their attention, keep it and then hopefully get them to like your products, buy once and then have an ongoing relationship that includes frequent purchases in your store. You want to get to know your customers and have a conversation with them so they feel engaged and recognized.

Your goal is to attract X customers within X months. First we need to figure out who is most likely to buy our products (below are facts made up by me, I have not done any digging into who want to buy eco-friendly clothes, so entirely made up).

  • Female 20-25
  • Often express opinion on politics, relationships and culture.
  • Open to change, curious and often follow their own path. Can be philosophical.
  • …etc

To be able to match these details we also need to know how our product is liked and disliked.

  • Overall people are positive towards our product
  • Our product is often mentioned and shown in pictures with X and Y products
  • Our product is often mention in information that is classified as cultural, sub.cultural, design and environment.
  • In pictures our products are often seen together with X and Y and in outdoor environment.

Given that we also have access to a simple monitoring solution that monitors our own brand / products as well as maybe some competitor (not necessary) we have everything we need to get started.

Traditionally we do not know most of the above, we are simply screaming of joy over the number of sign-ups or subscribers we have, we rarely know even a subset of above.

In cognitive marketing we actually do.

Lets play

To play with the entire process would be a 10.000 word post and you would put in the time to read it so I used the identification and personalization part as examples. The “who to engage” part that is. One of the most important parts to have a high retention and conversation rate, get the right people in the door and talk to them in the right way.

So, when I found someone that is interested in this area of products I simply run them through Personality Insight, all we need to get an analytics like below in a Twitter username, but naturally the more info you feed the better.

watson personality insight

This person seem to be quite a good fit for our company, lets see if we can find out even more so we can be even more precise when reaching out, so we can adress the person in the right tone and message etc.

Lets continue with the case where we only have the Twitter username. Now lets grab the Twitter avatar and analyze that. From before we knew a lot about the personality, needs and values. Not so much facts, but with the avatar we get some interesting facts, even without asking.

  • Gender
  • Age
  • …and that the photo actually contains a person

alchemy vision

This process is a start of building something really great. As you see in the image above the person that I have used is Lady Gaga (both for personality insight and for the image), which was also discovered in the analysis. I think she is slightly younger though, but a hard life in the music industry might impact the, by Watson, presumed age.

Just to be certain of what tone to use when interacting you can always analyze the tone in the text that we found written by the person about our products or area of products, this so we address with the expected tone. It could look something like this.

watson tone analyzer

I could create examples like above for the entire chain I described above, but I hope and guess that the description might suffice as an overview of how Cognitive Marketing could look like in real-life.

To summarize, cognitive marketing will bring out a lot of vagueness and replace that with a relationship that is very similar to how we interact in real-life.

Even though I am not entirely comfortable with IBM CEO Ginny Rometty in her statement Digital Intelligence + Digital Business = Cognitive Business it is really applicable to marketing.

This is the second post in my Real-life Cognitive Business series. Below is part 1 and the other parts will be added as they are posted.

Cognitive Business Part 1: Internal Communication

cognitive collaboration

Cognitive Business Part 1 – Internal Collaboration

I am starting with an old passion of mine, Internal Collaboration, knowledge and information sharing as well as finding the right expertise within the organisation. I will try to be concrete and skip the marketing buzzwords. This is the first in my series of examples of real-life Cognitive Business.

I started this series since sometimes this cognitive business thing is hard to grasp without real-life examples that all of us personally can relate to. So, lets jump right in.

Imagine having a question about one of your company products or any question that is an internal only question. Today you might search the intranet, often without result, you then take to your nifty internal collaboration tool, might be Slack, Yammer or whatever tool you have. If you are lucky and after a few interactions you might get an answer to your question or at least a part of the question.

Cognitive Internal Collaboration

Now lets imagine a world where there is a new friend on your list in the tool called Filippa. Filippa is a clever girl, she actually remembers everything and she keeps track on all new things that are created or stored internally and to some extent also externally. When you put your question on the internal network you can also adress Filippa. She will then go through all of the information she has and present you with what she think is the best 5 answers, who has created the info and also some evidence to why she thinks those five pieces of info is the most important. If a complex answer she will bundle it and present it in a nice way for you, still with evidence and who is the expert in the area and who has created the info.

Immediate Benefits

This will not only provide some really good answers to your question, this will also contribute to the conversation that might continue afterward. This since many other might chip-in on the conversation you have with Filippa and bring even more value to the answer. Filippa, as the caring and non-selfish individual she is, will also give credit to the original authors of the info and naturally @mention them in her reply, so now the conversation can really elevate and the end-result you will walk away with will be something like this:

  1. The answer will be of very high-quality
  2. Given to you within seconds
  3. Expertise on the topic identified and also invited to the conversation to further elaborate as well as giving credit to the expertise.
  4. Not only did you learn, so did Filippa. She added this conversation to her “knowledge” and is now even smarter and ready for even trickier questions within the area of expertise.

Just imagine the amount of time you spend searching for the right information or expertise within your organisation, that is a huge pain and cost for todays organisations.

In this first part of the “Cognitive Business Examples”-series we have touch what many consider the holy grail of collaboration. I hope this use-case / example fills some gaps and that the potential is obvious?

In the next part of this series we will look at how Marketing could work in a cognitive business.

This is the first post in my Real-life Cognitive Business series. Below is part 2 and the other parts will be added as they are posted.

Cognitive Business Part 2: Marketing

The photo is from Harstena in Gryts Archepelago in the Swedish east coast. A true favorite place on earth. The pump could represent the pumping and flowing of information that is described in the post.

Congitive Business Explained

Yesterday I wrote a post on the Future of Cognitive Business. After I posted I realized that even though many might know and understand the word Cognitive, the term Cognitive Business might need some further explanation. Earlier I have written about the word Cognitive as well.

A good start could be to listen to Ginni Rometty, CEO and Chairman at IBM. In short words, her explanation:

“Cognitive Business = Digital Business + Digital Intelligence”

Often Cognitive Business is talked about in the same sentance as Watson and / or Artificial Intelligence, but lets put that aside for now and give the term Cognitive Business some real thought.

As the IBM CEO states it is the combination digital business and digital intelligence. For me that sounds a bit too easy and especially we might associate those terms with differnent things and they are also a bit buzzwordy. I also do not understand why the use of Digital is used. Business today is not a digital or not digital. Digital is a part of every business independent of if you consider your business being digital or not. I would even go further and claim that the business that will have the most benefit from being a cognitive business are those who are more traditional and less “digital”, the opportinity within healthcare, the legal system, financial sector etc etc is much larger then with the ones already fully digital. A cognitive business will be able to leverage information that they previously could not. That is a huge opportunity.

For me Cognitive Business is a true evolution and the reason for that is simple. We will be able to do our work much better then before. That maybe sounds to simple of a answer, but I will stick to it. We will be able to get happier customers, know our customers better, generate more sales, better marketing and better product development and research.

If my business (whatever it is) have become cognitive I will never forget anything, I will always have the support for making the right decisions, I will always be able to ask for facts and get the reasoning for those answers, I do not have to go to a database or a SAP like system, I will be able to leverage information that have been impossible to leverage before, I will most probably just have to grab my smartphone (or other device) and simple speak into the mic and the reply is real-time (currently a delay is actually programmed so that the real real-time delay does not scare us).

Instead of writing an extremely long post about all different examples I decided to start a series of post on the topic, so expect post starting Monday that describes how a cognitive business look in the following areas:

  • Internal Collaboration, Information sharing and finding expertice
  • Research and Development
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • ….and maybe some additional one.

First post in the series will be posted on Monday and include how a cognitive buisness will look in the area of collaboration, knowldge and information sharing as well as finding the right expertise.

cognitive business

Future of Cognitive Business

The Cognitive Era is here. According to studies by 2018 50% of us will regulary interact with cognitive systems and the total market value for cognitive by 2019 is estimated to $12.5B. So how will this world of cognitive business look?

Cognitive is still a new word and for an explanation I have alredy written several posts on the topic, but in the “What is Cognitive” the word and meaning is described pretty digested.

Lets start with a glimpse of how it will be. It is mainly about 4 things:

  1. Collaboration between humans and computers.
  2. It is about cumputers learning, reason and understanding what it sees, hears and reads.
  3. It is about having real-time access to all needed information and never miss or forget that information.
  4. It is about making the right decisions faster, based on the right information.


The case illustrated in the video can easily be applied to other areas as well. Think product development and research, think sales meetings, thing building a business case for a client.

Most of these cognitive solutions are available today

So what are you waiting for, lets start to build this for your company.

Wait, you do not believe me when I say it can be done today? Well do take a look at the below video and watch it in a none cartoonish, but very real life environment. Say hello to CELIA!

I would say that the two videos above are the main reason I am so absorbed by IBM Watson and Cognitive Business. I will start a serie of posts on use cases similar or different from above, but how cognitive business will change the business world we live in today. We are truly in a shift in terms of eras of computing. It might sound like a buzzword or marketing, but regardless of the word or name, the shift is hear and it is happening, computers do learn, think, reason and understand. They can also communicate (written or verbal) in an efficient and understandable way to each one of us, in our language.

The language is probably one of the main areas that is needed to be upgraded for cognitive business to fully bloom. Most services support many languages, but only english is covered by all services and for Watson to be able to communicate with us in our language and understand what we are saying, he needs to now many more languages. Recently wrote a post on what languages Watson supports presented on a per service level for the interested.

And just for the record, I do not believe that AI, Cognitive or Watson himself, will replace humans.

Watson Ecosystem partners important to succeed

According to IBM and IDC 90% of the innovation will come from partners. In Watsons case this is the Watson Ecosystem.

What do the researchers say about the future of cognitive?

There is one guy that has a certain glory and glow to him when he presents cognitive. He also has the knowledge and the background to do it with authority. Do listen to Dr John Kelly, Senior Vice President Solutions Portfolio and Reaserch at IBM, talking about the Future of Cognitive.

The top photo is taken at Utö in the Stockholm archepelago. Thought the gate could symbolize that we now are entering the future

cognitive business

Five ways a Cognitive Business will outperform others

Yep, the title is a selling title, but it is just a short post with five bullets that describes what benefits a cognitive business will have towards a traditional one.

  1. A better customer experience
  2. Personalization and knowledge in your area of business
  3. Productivity
  4. Empower employees and find expertice
  5. Never forget, everything is analyzed, always

As a bonus, a cognitive business never misses information, never forgets and never wonder on what fileserver, in what mail or in what news article something was written. All hidden data like information in documents, images, sounds etc are all accessable in this new era of business.

Just think what impact this will have on your business. A co-worker that never forgets what he read and he reads very fast (by 800M pages per second actually). I say:

Lets give him a really nice salary and put him to work.

Photo: Taken from a British Airways flight from London recently.

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