Many of us still perceive Watson as an AI (artificial intelligence) narrative performing well on television quiz shows. But now Watson is much more than that.
Fundamentally, Watson is a collection of cognitive skills capable of understanding information produced naturally by humans, e.g. speech, text and different data content. On the basis of given information, Watson is able to learn and modify its decision-making to take advantage of information.
This sounds terribly dull, yet intriguing.
Recently there has also been a great deal of publicity in Finland about different ventures and investments relating to cognitive projects. For example, KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, signed an agreement to use the Watson platform. In addition, the health-care sector has taken note of Watson’s skills. Further afield, there are examples of e-commerce sites, where Watson can be used to assist in selecting products.
It’s very likely that with Watson’s help customer dialogue at an online store selling food and specialty goods could sound like this:
Juha: Good morning Watson.
Watson: Good morning Juha. How may I help you?
J: I’m planning a dinner for about ten friends in a couple of weeks. I’m going to invite them to spend some time at my cottage. Can you offer any catering suggestions?
W: Certainly. May I ask a few questions for clarification?
J: Of course.
W: I notice you buy mostly chicken for weekend meals and occasionally tapas selections. Would you like to prepare the same kind of meals this time?
J: Absolutely! I like to cook chicken so we could start with that. This time I’ll skip the tapas, but you could recommend some other starter.
W: OK. Are any of your guests sensitive to any foods?
J: As far as I know some are on a gluten-free diet, so we should take that into account.
W: OK. Just a moment… Here are four alternatives with pricing. I recommend you try the fourth option. There’s been a lot of very positive discussion about it on social media recently. It’s a dish worth trying.
J: Excellent, I’ll try it. What about appetizers?
W: I’d suggest the following appetizers. They work extremely well with the main course you selected.
J: OK. I’ll take option 1. Would you prepare my shopping suggestions and include other necessary groceries for 10 people?
W: Of course. Here it is. I’ve already placed the items in your shopping cart. You can add or delete any products you wish. I’d also suggest you have a look at what the local food producers have to offer. You’ll find them included.
J: Thank you, I’ll have a closer look. Could you also take care of delivery to the cottage on Saturday afternoon?
W: Sure. I’ll reserve delivery time for 2.00 pm. The address is already in your data. Does that suit you?
J: Yes, the time and address look good. Is there anything else you want to recommend?
W: Yes, I want to remind you that the weather forecast is predicting relatively heavy rain for that day. If you plan to spend time outdoors, I’d advise that you have a look at the attached raingear and umbrellas. These board games might also work well on a rainy evening.
J: Good point. I have rainwear, but add the Monopoly game to the cart and delivery.
W: OK. Is there anything else I can do for you?
J: No thank you. That will be all. See you next time!
W: Thank you, happy to help. See you!
Watson has matured into a possible game changer for some industries. At the end of the day, it will change established operations models in surprisingly simple ways. If you’re interested in finding out more, you can get started by visiting the Watson website.