A system that will change the relationship between man and machine. A computer system that appears to reason in the way humans do, simulating the workings of the brain. This is not the realm of science fiction but the world of IBM Watson. And even if the company’s claims turn out to be only partly true, everyone in the business of information needs to sit up and take notice.
For IBM Chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty, the stakes could not be higher. She predicts that every decision humans make in the future will be informed by a system like Watson: “I really believe that what we are doing together will change the world,” she says. Watson is one of the flagship initiatives of her program to reinvent a company that is now in its second century. It simply cannot fail.
For information businesses, the challenges may seem less immediate but they are no less significant. The system offers a new way for users to engage with content, expert decision support from the sum of knowledge in a domain, and creative discovery at unthinkable speeds. Those needs go to the heart of how organizations use information and why they are prepared to pay for it.
In this report, Outsell analyzes what Watson is (and what it isn’t), how and where IBM is taking it to market, and how information businesses are working with or reacting to it. Anyone involved with software-enabled information products or standalone information to support decision-making needs to understand what Watson can do and how it could change the way businesses interact with digital knowledge. This report will help all cognitive computing players understand more deeply the market challenges they will face. And for information companies, it will help CEOs and their teams to decide whether, when, and how to engage with Watson or other cognitive computing systems, and to understand that, whatever they may decide to do, they cannot ignore it.
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