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Fueling cognitive systems with trusted data

February 4, 2014

Recent IBM announcements about cognitive systems take me back to my time—before big data, data governance or data in the cloud—at a company known as Cognitive Systems. It focused on technologies like natural language processing (for example, interpreting unstructured text about international funds transfers) and case-based reasoning (for example, improving problem resolution for help desks).

The announcements take me forward as well—to a world where more and more thinking systems will improve healthcare and accelerate good decisions across multiple domains that affect our daily lives. 

Cognitive Systems the company has come and gone, but the concept of computing systems that can learn, reason and understand natural language has not disappeared. In fact, it has already started to become a reality. We saw evidence in 2011 when Watson won the Jeopardy Challenge. And Watson continues to evolve in 2014 to deliver cognitive computing for exciting new applications.

On ibm.com, IBM explains that cognitive systems learn through interactions. They deliver evidence-based responses and drive better outcomes, whether the domain is medical diagnosis, traffic analysis or consumer behavior.

Driving better outcomes has always been the ultimate goal of systems described as cognitive, and today we’re turning the vision into reality with solutions enabled by the set of capabilities now known as Watson Foundations, delivering fresh insights in a timely fashion and establishing trust so we can act with confidence.

Among those capabilities are data integration and data quality, master data management, data lifecycle management and data security and protection—collectively referred to as Information Integration and Governance (IIG). These are critical to delivering data worthy of trust, to fuel those cognitive systems. IIG helps systems to learn. For example, it uses data discovery to uncover hidden relationships among disparate data elements and it uses intelligent matching to show that several different sets of data, in different internal systems as well as in sources beyond the enterprise, are actually linked to the same customer, citizen or other important entity.

And so, as an IIG specialist today, I find myself back in the world of cognitive systems, delivering enabling technology so that when our systems think, they will base their thoughts on good data.

It’s good to be back.

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