I’ve spent this past week admiring artificial intelligence (AI) — or “cognitive business” as IBM positions itself — and the achievements happening in the world of machine learning. IBM Watson Chief Marketing Officer Stephen Gold presented at Marketing Idea eXchange, telling us of the marvels of computing today. If we think our current daily data output of 2.5 quintillion bytes is a flood, wait until the 44 zetabytes data tsunami that’s just around the corner gets here, every day.
Now, 88 percent of this data is unstructured — speech, video, social, according to Gold, much of it beyond the realm of most present-day database analyses and analysts. We know from McKinsey, IBM and even DMA studies that’s there’s not enough talent in the world, never mind the U.S., to analyze it all — to find the patterns and make sense of it, and then to apply that knowledge in faster and faster time.
Enter, AI. IBM is not alone in this quest. Watson may have had its early fun (and success) on Jeopardy, but IBM Watson today has learned a lot since then — how to converse, how to discover, how to optimize decisions, how to personalize and how to analyze. Google DeepMind’s GoAlpha is making its own statement with a Go human challenge — chalk another one four up for the machine. Most certainly Amazon, Oracle and others — anyone with a cloud — are making their way into your mind.
A former colleague of mine at Harte Hanks used to tell me that automated analytics software is like dynamite — very useful, but only in the right hands. But like Mr. Watson says, it’s only a tool.