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How Much Artificial Intelligence Does IBM Watson Have?

To gauge the future of IBM (NYSE:IBM) one needs to understand its cognitive computing platform, Watson. As its core business declines, IBM is counting on Watson to drive growth in new areas such as analytics, healthcare, internet of things, and security. But, what kind of artificial intelligence (AI) is IBM Watson? And, how does it compare to the many deep learning based products entering the market today?

Watson started as a follow-on project to IBM DeepBlue, the computer and AI program that defeated world chess champion Gary Kasparov. DeepBlue demonstrated that a computer could defeat a human in chess, a game with well-defined rules and limited, fully visible solutions.

The real world, however, is much more complicated: information often is unstructured, problems ill defined, and solutions probabilistic at best. To equip AI to deal with the real world, IBM challenged its computer and data scientists to create a program that could defeat human contestants at Jeopardy!, a quiz show requiring answers to natural language questions over broad domains of knowledge otherwise known as unstructured data.

Enter Watson. Watson conquered this challenge in 2011, marking a major milestone in artificial intelligence.

As a quick refresher, artificial intelligence can be divided into three categories, as shown above.1The first category is AI itself, defined broadly and covering all possible approaches to simulating intelligence. A subset of artificial intelligence is machine learning (ML), which uses data and experience automatically to tune algorithms. Finally, a subset of ML is deep learning (DL). Deep learning uses brain inspired algorithms – neural networks – to simulate the learning process. Because of the data explosion associated with social networks, connected sensors, and seismic oil exploration among others, machine learning has become quite popular. Among ML algorithms, deep learning can absorb the most data and has broken many AI records, becoming the most promising

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