Digital Reasoning Goes Cognitive

April 16, 2015

A new coat of paint is capturing some tire kickers’ attention.

IBM’s Watson is one of the dray horses pulling the cart containing old school indexing functions toward the airplane hanger.

There are assorted experts praising the digital equivalent of a West Coast Custom’s auto redo. A recent example is Digital Reasoning’s embrace of the concept of cognitive computing.

Digital Reasoning is about 15 years old and has provided utility services to the US government and some commercial clients. “Digital Reasoning Goes cognitive: CEO Tim Estes on Text, Knowledge, and Technology” explains the new marketing angle. The write up reported:

Cognitive is a next computing paradigm, responding to demand for always-on, hyper-aware data technologies that scale from device form to the enterprise. Cognitive computing is an approach rather than a specific capability. Cognitive mimics human perception, synthesis, and reasoning capabilities by applying human-like machine-learning methods to discern, assess, and exploit patterns in everyday data. It’s a natural for automating text, speech, and image processing and dynamic human-machine interactions.

If you want to keep track of the new positioning text processing companies are exploring, check out the write up. Will cognitive computing become the next big thing? For vendors struggling to meet stakeholder expectations, cognitive computing sounds more zippy that customer support services or even the hyperventilating sentiment analysis positioning.

Lego blocks are pieces that must be assembled.

Indexing never looked so good. Now the challenge is to take the new positioning and package it in a commercial product which can generate sustainable, organic revenues. Enterprise search positioning has not been able to achieve this goal with consistency. The processes and procedures for cognitive computing remind me of Legos. One can assemble the blocks in many ways. The challenge will be to put the pieces together so that a hardened, saleable product can be sold or licensed.

Is there a market for Lego airplane assembled by hand? Vendors of components may have to create “kits” in order to deliver a solution a customer can get his or her hands around.

An unfamiliar function with a buzzword can be easy to sell to those organizations with money and curiosity. Jargon is often not enough to keep stakeholders and in the case of IBM shareholders smiling. A single or a handful of Lego blocks may not satisfy those who want to assemble a solution that is more than a distraction. Is cognitive computing a supersonic biplane or a historical anomaly?

This is worth watching because many companies are thrashing for a hook which will lead to significant revenues, profits, and sustainable growth, not just a fresh paint job.

Stephen E Arnold, April 16, 2015


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