Watson Calling? The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Business

Bob Dylan walks into a room and speaks with Watson, IBM’s artificial intelligence program (and Jeopardy quiz champion). We learn that the computer can not only seemingly have a conversation with a person, but can analyze Dylan’s complex and frequently ambiguous lyrics. It can’t, however, sing. (Though some would make the same claim about Dylan.) This commercial is part of IBM’s Cognitive Business ad campaign that claims artificial intelligence (AI) systems such as Watson can make “virtually everything—every object, product, service, and process—…cognitive.” AI technologies can not only sort data but, in a sense, think about what the data means and also act upon it to achieve best outcomes. As Charles McLellan points out, “AI has often been popularly envisaged in super-smart humanoid robot form. In fact, it’s more commonly implemented as…


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