By Manny Schecter
The U.S. has endured numerous economic eras — farming, machines, manufacturing, transportation, and so on. Why has the U.S. economy survived and, more importantly, thrived throughout these periods? Were we just inherently gifted farmers? Were we all mechanically inclined? Are we experts at efficiency? If not, what then?
Our economy has proven flexible enough to successfully transition from one era to the next, but how? The answer lies not in details about the eras themselves, but in the innovation that enabled and sustained them. That is, the U.S. has been a leading innovator in each economic era. We are curious. We are creative. We are inventive. And this innovative spirit has been the common thread throughout.
Another reason why our nation has successfully navigated numerous economic eras is we have the most robust patent system in the world. The patent system is an engine for innovation. Specifically designed to promote innovation, the patent system provides the protection needed to ensure creative endeavors are not misappropriated by others who have not shouldered the same development expense. To allow otherwise would advantage copycats over inventors. Continue Reading »
By Pat Toole
Jovanna Marquez was a Florida high school student who was contemplating a career in criminal justice when a teacher convinced her to take a computer science class and then introduced her to IBM’s Master the Mainframe Contest.
It changed her life. Ms. Marquez is now studying computer science at the University of Central Florida and credits Master the Mainframe with helping her develop technical chops and find her true career path. Call it “Millennials Meet the Mainframe.” Or, “zEnterprise for Generation Z.” It’s a story about how a new generation of students are finding great career opportunities working with the IBM mainframe, which continues to advance as one of the world’s most dynamic and vital computing platforms. Continue Reading »
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 Sander Dolder and Devin McIntire
During a recent World Environment Center roundtable in New York City, it became clear that modern challenges including urbanization, climate change and economic woes are forcing the public and private sectors to revamp their thinking about infrastructure.
Opportunities abound for successful and sustainable infrastructure projects. For example, designing an enduring vision, establishing an effective communication plan, and embracing data that will measure real value, are all things that can influence behavior and drive better decision making. But to do it right, businesses of all sizes must consider three key issues: resiliency, behavior and Big Data.
Resiliency is the ability for a system to recover, adapt, and grow in the face of unforeseen changes. Companies can use the concept of resilience to help grow or transform their business, including things like where to locate, where to source materials, or what energy systems to invest in that would optimize their adaptability to climate change. Continue Reading »
By Michael Karasick
When Thomas J. Watson Sr. joined IBM in 1914 as its president, the firm didn’t have a single engineer on its payroll, so he quickly hired engineers and set up a product development group in a brownstone near New York’s Penn Station. He created a patent development department in 1932 and, in 1945, he established the first corporate scientific research laboratory. Today, IBM Research has grown to become the largest corporate research organization in the world, with 3000 professionals at 12 labs in 10 countries.
The point is that the nature of innovation keeps evolving and organizations have to change with it.
That’s why IBM is adopting a new approach to innovation for our newly formed IBM Watson Group, which will be headquartered in New York’s Silicon Alley. In the group, we are melding research, product development, experience design and collaboration with business partners and clients—all with the goal of accelerating the development of cognitive computing solutions for many of the world’s most vexing problems. This new era of computing requires a new approach to innovation.
Our Watson initiative builds on top of IBM’s long tradition of innovation, which placed IBM as the No. 1 recipient of US patents in 2013 for the 21st year in a row. We received 6,809 patents, easily outdistancing Samsung, the No. 2 finisher, with 4,676. The next US company on the top 10 list, Microsoft, ranked No. 5.
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. Continue Reading »
Imagine this: Your computer, the one you carry around in your pocket or purse, knows everything about you. With your permission, it knows about your relationships with the people, places and things in your world. It talks and listens to you. And, as your computer interacts with you and with the vast store of data about you, it learns to be an even better assistant—helping you navigate your personal and professional lives.
Up until now, only a select few of the world’s leading businesses and government agencies have had the ability to marshal vast financial and computing resources to solve almost any highly complex problem. But in the coming years, this type of power will become available to individuals, as well– through the assistance of computers that learn and help us make the most important decisions affecting our lives. Continue Reading »
You can help design this world of the future—where machines learn, reason and interact with people in ways that are more natural to us. As a scientist, an engineer, a marketer, or an entrepreneur, your skills and ideas will be essential for inventing the new era. For consumers of technology, social networking gives you a seat at the table where the future is being designed. Your voices will shape the thinking of technologists and the services they offer to you. This year’s 5 in 5 predictions of innovations that will help transform your world is just a taste of what is to come.
To stimulate the conversation between technology creator and consumer, we’re calling on readers to suggest their own novel and perhaps even earth-shifting ideas for putting cognitive systems to work on everybody’s behalf. If you have an idea that gets you jazzed, please submit it as a comment at the end of this blog post. We’ll review the comments and highlight the best of them in future posts. The people with the most intriguing ideas get free Watson T-Shirts!
To learn more about the new era of computing, read Smart Machines: IBM’s Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing.
Check your calendars for tomorrow morning, and plan on coming back and viewing this year’s 5 in 5, predictions of five innovations that will rock your world within five years. Chosen by IBM Research scientists, this year’s innovations are rooted not in gee-whiz visions of the future but in projects we have underway in our labs today.
Each of the predictions will explore an aspect of one of the most important changes that’s coming to computing–the ability of machines to learn from their interactions with data and people. Such learning is part of the era of cognitive computing, which got its start with Watson’s victory on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! In the future, machines will increasingly learn, reason, predict the future and interact with people in ways that are more natural to us. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
At IBM, Watson seems to be everywhere these days. The cognitive computer that beat two grand champions on the TV quiz show, Jeopardy!, has a team working on enhancements in IBM Research; software programmers developing services for businesses and whole industries; programming and ideation contests in universities; two books about it (Final Jeopardy! and Smart Machines); and, now, an Off-Broadway play.
That’s right, Playwrights Horizons is presenting The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, by playwright Madeleine George—which opened on Nov. 15 and will continue through Dec. 29. It’s an exploration of the relationships between people and the people and machines we depend on. The play draws on parallels between IBM’s Watson, the character Dr. Watson of Sherlock Holmes fame and the Watson who Alexander Graham Bell called in the first-ever telephone conversation. At times funny and other times emotionally wrenching, the play examines our mixed feelings about being helped by others. George is featured here.