The Cognitive Era is the Next Societal Revolution That Will Change the World

Rich OrdTechnology

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"The transformational nature of artificial intelligence requires new metrics of success for our profession," says Guru Banavar who is responsible for advancing the next generation of cognitive technologies and solutions with IBM's global scientific ecosystem including academia, government agencies and other partners. "It is no longer enough to advance the science of AI and the engineering of AI-based systems. We now shoulder the added burden of ensuring these technologies are developed, deployed and adopted in responsible, ethical and enduring ways."

IBM is at the cutting edge of the practical integration of artificial intelligence into real-world solutions as evidenced by IBM Watson's recent integration with H&R Block software to improve tax deduction possibilities for the average consumer. Now that's something that everybody can relate to!

Dr. Banavar recently delivered the 2017 Turing Lecture, a prestigious annual lecture co-hosted by the British Computer Society (BCS) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET). "

"Most of the really exciting work going on in AI today is not about this at all (referring to the movie Morgan which focused on artificial general intelligence)", noted Dr. Banavar. "It's not about machines that look and talk and feel like humans. It's not about machines that work like humans, but its about machines that work with humans." He says that although this is a rather fine distinction, it's a really important distinction.

The Cognitive Era

"There is a big revolution going on and in my mind is of the same magnitude of the Industrial Revolution," says Dr. Banavar. "Every time one of these revolutions has happened we have seen tremendous changes in society, in the economy's of the world and in all our lives. I believe we are at the beginning of yet another such revolution. I call that the Cognitive Era."

"I think that we as human beings are now getting overwhelmed with respect to our cognitive capabilities," commented Dr. Banavar. "Just trying to understand all of the data around us, all of the knowledge around us and trying make the right decisions about our daily lives, about our jobs, is getting really hard. We need to augment our cognition with the cognition of machines."

Dr. Banavar gave the example that we all know that doctors can often be years behind the latest research and data. "What if your doctor had the benefit of a machine that could help do this kind of analysis before they make their final decision?"

View Dr. Banavar's lecuture in its entirety starting at the 18:10 mark:

Rich Ord