How does IBM's Watson

A Japanese insurance company replaces 34 employees with artificial intelligence (AI). Her name: Watson. What are the implications of AI advancement? There is certainly some need for discussion. But how does someone like Watson work?

Berni Schiefer is an IBM Fellow. Since the introduction of the IBM Fellow Program by T. J. Watson - that was in 1963 - hundreds of patents and several Nobel Prize winners have emerged from it. Among them are well-known and dazzling figures such as the Nobel Prize winners Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer. They developed the scanning tunneling microscope. Then there is Georg Bednorz and Karl Alexander Müller, without them there would be no high-temperature superconductors. Leo Esaki was also an IBM Fellow. He is the inventor of the Esaki diode.

Other well-known awardees are the mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot (pioneer of fractals) and the winners of the Turing Awards John Backus (programming language Fortran) and Ken Iverson (APL and interactive systems). Edgar Codd gets to know every computer science student: He is the father of all relational databases. John Cocke brought compilers and the RISC architecture. Other pioneering achievements by IBM Fellows included the first hard disk drives (Reynold Johnson, 1956), DRAM (Robert Dennard 1966), ISA (AT-Bus, Mark Dean), Trackpoint (Ted Selker) and the database query language SQL (Donald Chamberlin 1974).

And now Berni Schiefer comes and talks about Watson. He leads the analytics group at IBM. His goal: to revolutionize software development. Not less. Watson is a computer program from the field of artificial intelligence. It was created by IBM to provide answers to questions asked in natural language. The program, named after Thomas J. Watson, one of the first presidents of IBM, was developed as part of the DeepQA research project.

How capable Watson is now, did he show - or should they be said? - in three episodes of the quiz show Jeopardy, broadcast from February 14 to 16, 2011! with two human opponents. The latter had previously won record sums on the show. The game, for which a prize money of one million dollars was awarded, was therefore considered in the media to be comparable to the duel of the world chess champion Garry Kasparov against the computer Deep Blue. Watson won the game. His total at the end of the game was $ 77,147 versus his human competitors' $ 24,000 and $ 21,600, respectively.

A Japanese insurance company is now planning to replace more than 30 employees with the Watson platform. The AI ​​should check and evaluate the names and data of the insured as well as their medical history. And that's just the beginning.

How does Watson work? Berni Schiefer explained it in his keynote during the IT days in December 2016. You can see it here: