By Sima Nadler
Whether it’s finding those gluten-free crackers, getting the best price for sunblock, or just navigating inside the store, new technology is changing the way we shop. We can already compare prices and products using our smartphones, and soon we’ll have a cognitive, digital shopping assistant ready to answer all our questions.
This week IBM announced an augmented reality technology with Tesco, one of the world’s leading retailers, that will enable the company to do things like manage more effectively how products are displayed on shelves – ensure they are arranged according to plans that specify the best position, amount, and arrangement. This same core technology can also be used to help shoppers compare products or find what they’re looking for. Continue Reading »
By Florian Pinel
Raise your hand if you have interests outside of your day job. Probably most everyone, I imagine. Now, how often do they serendipitously collide? Probably not that often, right? But that’s what happened for me two years ago when I applied my computer science skills to my love of the culinary arts as part of IBM’s Cognitive Cooking project.
If you’re attending South by Southwest in Austin from March 7-11, come meet me at the IBM Food Truck. I’ll be showing how this recipe-generating technology works, while chefs will be preparing the dishes you can vote for on Twitter.
The idea started when my team was brainstorming on “Watson-like projects” – nothing so specific as “cooking,” yet. We wanted to know: could the cognitive computing that Watson uses in healthcare and other industries, also be creative?
That angle then spun into “could a machine come up with a recipe we could make into a dish that we would actually want to eat?” You can read about its early iterations, and its potential societal impacts, in the 2012 IBM 5 in 5: Taste prediction. Continue Reading »
Chef Michael Laiskonis has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants, including New York’s Le Bernardin, a Michelin Guide three-star restaurant, as executive pastry chef. Now the creative director at the Institute of Culinary Education, Laiskonis is helping IBM “teach” a computer system to develop novel recipes. The “cognitive cooking” collaboration was on display at IBM’s Pulse Conference, where ICE chefs prepared everything from an Austrian chocolate burrito, to a Baltic apple pie in the IBM Food Truck. Next, the truck and tech will stop in Austin for the South by Southwest Interactive Conference. Before Chef Laiskonis set out for the Lone Star state’s capital, he spoke with the Smarter Planet blog about what it’s like to work with a computer that knows ingredients down to the molecular level, and how such a system would be accepted in the kitchen.
Smarter Planet: How did you become interested in cooking, and inspired to be a chef?
Michael Laiskonis: I fell into cooking quite by accident while I was pursuing a degree in fine arts. What began as something I “could” do simply in order to pay the bills quickly became something I felt “compelled” to do. The underlying science of cooking, the process of transformation, the hard work of making something with one’s own hands and the instant gratification of making people happy – all of those things still drive me today. Continue Reading »
What happens when you ask an entire continent to illustrate its challenges and opportunities in photos?
That’s exactly what IBM’s newest research lab wanted to find out. IBM Research – Africa, which opened its doors last November, was created with an ambitious mission: to conduct applied and far-reaching exploratory research into the grand challenges of the African continent by delivering commercially-viable innovations that impact people’s lives. Though it opened with clear objectives and an understanding of many of the infrastructural concerns across the continent, the Lab wanted a more personal understanding of the challenges.
“We quickly realized that if we were to make a difference in Africa, we needed to operate outside of the walls of the lab,” said Dr. Kamal Bhattacharya, Director, IBM Research – Africa. “While we benefit from 25 PHDs from some of the world’s best universities, it is crucial that we enter a dialogue with the people who best understand their own realities.” Continue Reading »
By Rob High
My hometown of Austin, Texas, is food truck heaven. The city boasts more than 1000 trucks serving up an incredible variety of fare—everything from potato-chip-flavored ice cream sandwiches to Japanese deep fried octopus meatballs. When hordes of technorati and live music fans gather here for the annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival next week, they’ll have plenty of culinary treats to choose from. But we have something really different to bring to the table — IBM’s Watson food truck.
You’ve probably watched Watson compete on TV, but now for the first time you can see, taste and smell the results of its creativity.
The bright orange truck will serve up exotic delicacies including Indian Tumeric Paella, Italian Grilled Lobster and Ecuadorian Strawberry Dessert. Unlike the menus of the other trucks, these dishes were created through a collaboration between Watson, a cognitive computer, and award-winning chefs at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). Continue Reading »
By Stephen Gold
Ever since the early days of personal computing, scientists, sci-fi mavens and movie makers have envisioned a time when people would interact with pocket-sized intelligent digital assistants that would help them organize their lives and get things done.
Like flying cars, those intelligent digital assistants always seem to be off in the future.
Except that’s not so anymore. Today, scientists and engineers at IBM are designing cognitive systems that will ingest vast amounts of information, learn, reason, and interact with people in ways that are more natural to us.
Very soon, you’ll have all of the power of Watson, the Jeopardy-winning computer, delivered in the palm of your hand. In fact, some early adopters are already trying out test versions of the technology.
Many people think of Watson as a room-sized supercomputer. Today’s reality is quite different. The computing power of the original Watson has been squeezed into a space the size of three pizza boxes, and, thanks to the cloud, Watson’s intelligence can be accessed on your smart phone or tablet wherever and whenever you want it.
By Steve Hamm
Tired of fiddling with mobile apps that do little more than entertain people with too much slack time on their hands? Here’s a chance to help change the world. IBM today launched the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, a first-of-its-kind worldwide competition to promote development of mobile consumer and business apps powered by Watson, a cognitive computing breakthrough.
Cognitive computers are smart machines that ingest vast amounts of information, learn, reason and interact with people in ways that are more natural to us. While the original Watson was trained to compete with humans on the TV quiz show Jeopardy!, today’s Watson is designed to provide advice and insights to business leaders, professionals and individuals anywhere and any time—thanks to cloud and mobile computing.
By Manoj Saxena
I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I love to shepherd businesses from concept to reality. Earlier in my career, I launched, built and sold two technology companies.
One of those companies was purchased by IBM, which launched the next phase of my career, when I became an intrepreneur. At IBM I was tapped to lead the team charged with turning Watson from a Jeopardy-playing experiment into a set of technology solutions capable of transforming industries. During our short three year effort, we’ve applied Watson to a variety of industry challenges, from health care to financial services and retail, and demonstrated the power of the new era of computing where cognitive systems think, improve by learning, and discover insights in massive amounts of data. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
Amid the chaos of civil war, Abdigani Diriye’s family fled Somalia in a rush when he was just five years old. Diriye and his sister escaped to London in the care of a 19-year-old aunt; his father flew to Sweden; and his mother made her way through the battle zone to Kenya.
Diriye’s childhood experience was common for Somalis of his generation. Many people had it much worse. But Diriye stands out in another way: After living in the UK and the US for 25 years, he’s returning to Africa next month to help solve its many problems—as a new member of the team at IBM Research – Africa. “It could have easily been me still in Somalia living on $2 a day with no access to clean water,” he says. “It’s my social responsibility to go back and give back.”Continue Reading »
By Sandy Carter
Once upon a time, Silicon Valley was the only place in the world where entrepreneurship seemed to happen through spontaneous combustion. So cities and countries all over tried to copy it–with only modest success.
Well, something strange is happening in the early years of the 21st century. Startup fever is on the move, both within the United States and globally.
The spirit of global entrepreneurship will be on display Feb. 6 in San Francisco, where the IBM SmartCamp program will present its fourth annual Entrepreneur of the Year award. The contestants, boiled down from 1200 applicants, qualified for the finals via a series of regional contests last year. They hail from Brazil, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, Australia and Malaysia—as well as a couple of unlikely spots in the United States, Camden, N.J., and Fresno, Calif.