Imagine a world in which computers were not simply programmed to process data, but could develop cognitive capacities, including the ability to sense things -- or something very analogous to it, anyway.
That's right, I'm talking about the five human senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell. A computer that was highly intelligent, with machine learning capabilities, but could also interact with the sensory environment: That would be a trip beyond Watson, right?
That's just what IBM's "5 in 5" (five innovations that will change our world in five years) is predicting.
We're talking about precisely these possibilities in our new Web Wise World tutorial, in which Paul Bloom, IBM's CTO for Telcom Research, takes you on a journey through each of the five senses, showing how cognitive computing will soon be able to reproduce versions of them, together with the implications some of these developments will have for commerce.
For example, take touch. Cognitive computing, together with haptic technology, will employ vibrations to deliver the precise tactile textures of remote products -- a silk shirt, say, or a pair of gloves you've found while shopping on your smartphone.
Cognitive computing will be able to use smell to analyse the thousands of potential biomarkers we expel each time we inhale, and use this as a healthcare diagnostic tool.
The possibilities are limitless, as are the potential business applications. With computers no longer restricted to deductive reasoning, but able to emulate inductive reasoning by making contextual observations, they will increasingly be able to understand, and act to enhance, human experiences. Enterprises will benefit by being able to better understand customers' needs and develop better products.
A telecom industry veteran, Paul Bloom helped develop telco applications for the Watson Deep Q&A technology. He's a great guide to this new era of computing. Enjoy his videos, and don't forget to ask him a question -- and take our Web Wise World Poll -- here.
A world of feeling awaits.
— Kim Davis , Community Editor, Internet Evolution