IBM: AI 101

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A recent article from Tech Crunch by Devin Coldewey highlights an RFI response from IBM regarding artificial intelligence (AI). Mr. Coldewey writes, “The field of artificial intelligence is so huge, and the potential applications so numerous, that it would be folly to try to explain it all in one — no, wait, IBM just did.” Today we will look at some of the highlights from IBM’s response.

First, artificial intelligence vs. augmented intelligence. IBM prefers to speak to augmented intelligence which is the process of creating systems that enhance and scale human expertise rather than systems that attempt to replicate human intelligence.  IBM further describes their approach as cognitive computing or “a comprehensive set of capabilities based on technologies such as machine learning, reasoning and decision technologies; language, speech and vision technologies; human interface technologies; distributed and high-performance computing; and new computing architectures and devices. When purposefully integrated, these capabilities are designed to solve a wide range of practical problems, boost productivity, and foster new discoveries across many industries.”

How is AI currently being used?  IBM provides the follow highlights by industry:

  • Healthcare – AI is advancing precision medicine through its ability to “ingest” patient information and run it against vast stores of medical research
  • Social Services – AI can be used to predict resource needs from specific population groups
  • Education – AI provides new capabilities to design true personalized learning plans
  • Financial Services – AI is being used to ensure financial resources are utilized well. This can come from the advancement of the applicant approval process or through efficient weighing and processing of insurance needs against risk, costs and regulations

In particular for IBM what started as a contestant on Jeopardy, IBM Watson, is now full blown cognitive computing that can be applied to practical problems in a variety of industries.

Next week, we will feature more on the blog from IBM’s AI 101. Be sure to check back. Until then you can also read more on AI and cognitive computing here.

It’s Here: IBMi 7.3

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“From the web interface used to order a birthday gift to the mobile interface used for paying bills, companies need modern capabilities like cloud solutions and deeper analytics to run their businesses in a secure environment,” writes Alison Butterill for IBM System’s In the Making blog.  Companies across all industries have a long history of turning to IBM i on Power Systems to meet their needs.

And just last week, IBM announced the release of IBMi  7.3.  Ms. Butterill reports the new release will allow you to better:

  • Conduct accurate analysis of data within a specific historical time period and provide an outlet to compare the insights against current data with DB2 for i temporal support.
  • Analyze data to plan ahead and build new strategies that improve business operations with newly enhanced OLAP functionality.
  • Optimize system management and security with the security authority collection.


IBM i 7.3Chief Architect for IBM i operating systems, Steve Will, also discusses the IBMi  7.3 release for IBM Systems Magazine. In his article, he writes the new release will have features that simplify insight, provide intelligent security and bring new open source options to developers.  Mr. Will provides several links to bloggers who dig deeper into each aspect of the new release. Here are the articles of note:

  • For more on IBMi 7.3 DB2 enhancements such as temporal support and OLAP functions, check out Mike Cain’s post on DB2fori blog.
  • Dawn May on IBM Systems Magazine dives into the security enhancements for 7.3, specifically the Authority Collection feature
  • IBM Business Architect for Application Development, Tim Rowe, takes a developer’s look at new integration with open source on System i Developers blog

Are you interested in talking specifically about what IBMi 7.3 can bring to your business? Contact our team at Evolving Solutions.

Industry News Round- up – Watson in the News

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IBM Watson
The IBM Watson-powered concierge “Connie” at work in a hotel (
IBM’s Watson continues to be a top news story and industries are finding creative uses for Watson’s abilities.  Today let’s look at what Watson has been up to in retail, entertainment and hospitality.

Watson and MasterCard Partner to Bring Big Data to Small Business

According to ZDNet, MasterCard has integrated IBM Watson into its platform to give small and medium-sized merchants access to big data analytics.  Soon merchants will be able to access real-time, analytics based market insights on revenue, market share and customer types.  MasterCard recognized that their small business customers may have data but they lack the resources to gain real insights.  Watson in particular will be able to deliver more views into customer behavior and buying trends. What they are labeling as “smarter data” will become more accessible and actionable through this new partnership.

Watson at Hogwarts

A little pop culture, according to Tech Insider Watson analyzed the Harry Potter books and movies using the “Big Five” test to assess personality traits to classify characters and to compare how their roles changed from the books to on film.  One finding ranked Harry high for anger second only to Voldemort despite being the “good guy.” Watson also agreed with many Harry Potter fans that Ginny’s character in the movie is not as strong as in the books, noting she ranked higher for intellect and gregariousness in the books. Finally, Professor McGonagall was the character left most intact when comparing the books to the movies.

Watson Works as Hotel Concierge

Have you heard about Connie the robot concierge?  PC Magazine reports Hilton has partnered with IBM to use its Watson-powered robot to act as hotel concierge, recommending restaurants, attractions and hotel amenities to guests. Connie uses Watson speech and language APIs to interact with guests and respond to questions. The more Connie interacts the more she “learns” and the more the technology improves.

Industry News Round- up – What is Watson Up To?

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With a new year upon us, today let’s look at what IBM Watson has been up to so far in 2016.

More Work for Watson

Fortune recaps Watson at CES where IBM announced new ways in which Watson is being used. Stacey Higginbotham writes, “Watson now offers coaching through Under Armour’s app for consumers using certain products. Watson can also warn diabetics using certain Medtronic devices if their blood sugar gets too low. Whirlpool is using the cognitive computer to grab data from its connected appliances in hopes of understanding if there are flaws in its manufacturing lines. And finally, Watson is now the brains inside SoftBank’s Pepper robot.”  Ms. Higginbotham points out Watson’s ever expanding capabilities – voice recognition, computer vision and predictive intelligence.

For Whirlpool using Watson is about handing data from connected appliances better and for Medtronic and SoftBank it is more about extracting more value and opportunities from existing data.  All in all, more industries are finding work for Watson.

Watson-powered Wellness App

Natalie Gagliordi of ZDNet reports, “IBM’s Watson-powered wellness app with Pathway Genomics enters alpha release.The app focuses on a wellness report compiled from a bevy of data sources, such as a user’s genetic test, health habits, and health tracker information from the likes of Apple HealthKit.”  This new app crunches diet, exercise and metabolism to build a “personalized approach to preventative medicine.” Ms. Galiordi points out that this is the latest effort by IBM to position Watson at the forefront of medical innovation.

Watson Takes on the World

Bernard Marr takes a step back on Thoughts on Cloud and digs into what makes Watson tick. In his interview with IBM, he describes the three “legs” that form Watson’s cognitive computing. First, Watson is designed to use natural language processing so it can work and react in real language and IBM points out it can even learn nuances, idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms of human language. Second, Watson can process enormous amounts of data to come up with probabilistic answers. And finally Watson’s ability to learn, fueled by big data Mr. Marr points out, means Watson can only get better with every use.

Watson & IoT in 2016

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Chris O’Connor of IBM titles his latest article “Reimagining the future with the cognitive Internet of Things (IoT).” In the article he talks about how bringing IBM Watson into the world of IoT will allow businesses to better harness the data and extract insights.  He writes, “Despite the great strides we have seen in IoT technology and applications, the Internet of Things has much room for growth. Much of the dark data and edge data created by the Internet of Things holds great value—if it can be deciphered and put to use.”  Businesses feel overwhelmed by the thought of putting into place systems that can unlock the insights of IoT data but perhaps a little “reimagining” as Mr. O’Connor puts it is just what is needed.

His solution for IoT, cognitive computing, “To bring ambitious IoT applications into being, we need powerful, sophisticated ways of processing an increasingly large and varied flow of IoT data. In short, we need the Internet of Things to be smarter than it is, and we need to get ever more value from the data it produces. Using cognitive computing systems that learn at scale, reason purposefully and interact naturally with humans, we can begin exploiting IoT data to an unprecedented degree.” Enter IBM Watson.

Again Watson pops up in another place and another use as we close out 2015. It certainly has come a long way since Jeopardy. IBM applies Watson’s capabilities to IoT and will offer a number of application programming interfaces (APIs) to help businesses manage ever increasing data loads. APIs will include:

  • Natural Language Processsing
  • Machine Learning
  • Video and Image Analytics
  • Text Analytics

Mr. O’Connor closes, “Watson Internet of Things gives enterprises a way to tap into the flood of IoT data, then use that data to answer previously unasked questions and make intelligent business decisions.”