Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Steve Hamm, IBM Writer

Steve Hamm, IBM Writer

By Steve Hamm

My father was studying agricultural science at a junior college in Iola, Kansas, in 1939 when he got an opportunity to drive with friends in a new Plymouth to the World’s Fair in New York City. There, exposed to a vision of an amazing future made possible by technology, he decided to change course and studying mechanical engineering so he could help make that vision come to life.

 As an engineer for Westinghouse for nearly 40 years, he played a role in some of the key technological advances that took place in the second half of the 20th century, including jet engines and space exploration.

These days, World’s Fairs don’t play the same inspirational role that they once did, but you don’t have to be a visionary to see the tremendous opportunities that exist today at the intersection of science and society. When I look at what’s going on at IBM and elsewhere, it seems to me that never has a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) degree been more valuable, nor have the applications of technology to real-world problems and puzzles been more varied and exciting.

 If you’re a high school or university student with an aptitude for science and math, find a domain that inspires you and go for it. Here’s IBM Research VP David McQueeney talking about the professor who inspired him to pursue studies in physics.

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One of the areas with a lot of promise is cognitive computing. In the future (starting right now) computers will increasingly learn, reason and interact with humans in ways that are more natural to us. This represents the biggest shift in the computing landscape since the first digital computers were invented in the 1940s. It has the potential to transform business, society and our personal lives.

But, unlike traditional computers, that primarily automated human processes, these new cognitive systems will mainly augment human thinking–so we can be better informed and and can make better decisions.

Consider this: What if you had a cognitive application that helped you get the best education possible considering your interests and aptitude. The app would have an encyclopedic knowledge of educational opportunities, both formal and informal. Through interactions with you, the app would know how you learn best.  It would also know about current and future job opportunities–and the education, training and experiences that would be required to prepare you for them. Through a series of dialogues with you, the app would help you chart a course that would prepare you for your dream career.

Here’s IBM Research scientist Dario Gil explaining how learning systems will become our partners in decision making.

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If you want to learn more about cognitive computing read Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing.

The confluence of cognitive computing with other shifts in technology will amplify its impact. Cloud computing and the spread of mobile technologies will deliver the power of cognitive computing to anybody with Internet access–via a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC. In the past, the most powerful computing capabilities were available only to the rich and resourceful. In the future, they’ll be accessible to just about everybody. Think about how that changes the world order. Power will come to the people–individually and in groups.

Here’s IBM Research scientist Maria Ebling explaining how cloud computing will bring advanced medical treatment to people in community hospitals and clinics around the world.

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My father is 93 now. He probably has a slide rule in the bottom drawer of his desk along with the TI electronic calculator he bought in the early 1970s, but he’s long out of the innovation game. Still, he’s amazed and inspired when I tell him about the projects that are underway today at IBM Research and elsewhere. He still has the capacity for wonder that he did when he had his mind blown at the 1939 World’s Fair. That’s the inspiration–and the potential reward– of a career in science and engineering. Like him, you can invent yourself and help reinvent the world.
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8 Comments
 
March 8, 2014
3:00 pm

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February 21, 2014
3:13 am

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Posted by: Partywear saree
 
January 28, 2014
5:14 am

This article is excellent one. Hope it could be helpful for the coming generations.


Posted by: Anamika Sahoo
 
January 16, 2014
11:00 pm

STEM jobs are dead in america for a career. You will get 15 years maybe and replaced.

see ->http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/big-data-analysis-adds-to-guest-worker-debate/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2

The age of workers, which the study did not look at, may also play a role. Experienced American workers tend to be older in an industry that prizes youth. A study conducted by a Seattle-based company called Payscale found that among 32 technology companies surveyed, only six had a work force with a median age over 35. At Monster, the job search portal, the median age was 30; at Google, 29; and at Facebook, 28. The median age of American workers over all is 42.3 years old, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Senate immigration bill, passed last month, nearly doubles the number of H-1B visas that companies can seek every year. Industry lobbied heavily for it, bulldozing efforts to add language that would force companies to try to hire an equally qualified American first. The House is mired in arguments over what kind of immigration legislation it can pass. Technology industry groups are lobbying members of the House for a substantial increase in H-1Bs, among other things.


Posted by: Out Of Work
 
January 11, 2014
10:37 pm

This is not true for software. Maybe biology and chemistry.

I tell my kids stay out of software. If you do, work for a product firm but at most corporations you are little above a janitor.

There is no future for most software developers. Maybe the 5% working on latest products, but vast majority will find work for 10 years and have to move on as they get replaced with cheaper workers.

We hire our testers from Mexico and our Java Developers from India, h1bs. work at 1/2 the rate and produce code that never matches the need, communication skills are lacking, but is fine for most corporate stuff. QSSI is good example. Our firm outsourced the entire SOA development stack to TCS.

I would like to hear more about where developers, other than college kids, can have a career in software.

do something in healthcare and maybe you can have a career. Do something software and you will be out of a job by 40.


Posted by: Another CDeveloper
 
January 10, 2014
5:46 pm

I prefer that Watson sould be install in ATM machines all over New York area and later expand in other cities.


Posted by: Mukesh Vadehra
 
January 8, 2014
12:41 pm

thanks for posting that question tina because i was just thinking the same. this article is terrific.


Posted by: darilyn pietrangolare
 
January 7, 2014
9:55 am

This article is very inspirational. I work with high school students who are studying engineering and wonder if I can share this with them. Can the blog be accessed externally?


Posted by: Tina Mackay
 
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