Reddit had a chance to ask the IBM Watson Research team (the geniuses behind that victorious Jeopardy! robot) some questions. We had the opportunity to publish them. Aside from learning the team had to develop “a mechanical device that grips and physically pushes the button,” our favorite response, by and large, came in response to the question, “Will Watson ever be available public [sic] on the Internet?”
Here’s an excerpt:
The first industry we will provide the Watson technology to is the healthcare industry, to help physicians improve patient care. In today’s healthcare environment, where physicians are often working with limited information and little time, the results can be fragmented care and errors that raise costs and threaten quality. What doctors need is an assistant who can quickly read and understand massive amounts of information and then provide useful suggestions…
…In terms of other applications we’re exploring, here are a few examples of how Watson might some day be used:
• Watson technology offered through energy companies could teach us about our own energy consumption. People querying Watson on how they might improve their energy management would draw on extensive knowledge of detailed smart meter data, weather and historical information.
• Watson technology offered through insurance companies would allow us to get the best recommendations from insurance agents and help us understand our policies more easily. For our questions about insurance coverage, the question answering system would access the text for that person’s actual policy, the other policies that they might have purchased, and any exclusions, endorsements, and riders.
• Watson technology offered through travel agents would more easily allow us to plan our vacations based on our interests, budget, desired temperature, and more. Instead of having to do lots of searching, Watson-like technology could help us quickly get the answers we need among all of the information that is out there on the Internet about hotels, destinations, events, typical weather, etc, to plan our travel faster.
Can you think of any other real-life Watson applications?