Remember the IBM computer that won at Jeopardy, the television quiz show? It was Watson, a supercomputer able to understand spoken voice and find in a few millisecond the right answer to that question.
Now IBM feel they can move this capability inside a cell phone to let me, and you, ask whatever question is nagging and find an answer. That is telling a lot on the continuous progress of computer power and of the use of cloud based services.
Watson was a supercomputer made of ten racks of IBM 750 servers, delivering a processing power that compared to the ones provided, at that time, by 6,000 desktop computers.
Watson 2.0 would make use of the processing power in your smart phone complemented by the one provided in the cloud. Quite a challenge, since only few years have gone by from Jeopardy…
Actually, today’s processing power in your hand would not be sufficient, but IBM is betting that by 2015 that would be the case. And at that time they expect there will be a business close to 15 billion $ in the area of biz analytics, the one they are targeting.
Watson 2.0 will be able to answer questions like “when should I plant my corn” to a farmer in the middle of his patch talking to his smart phone, but should also be able to answer medical questions about one’s health problem and do so by accessing medical data and consulting with doctors.
As such it goes far beyond Siri, and it approaches a thresholds that might be even beyond the Turing test. Actually you can tell, by talking to Watson 2.0 that it is not a human, it is actually too smart to be a human!