Artificial intelligence is something that we have discussed countless times in our television shows, movies and books. It seems that we have come pretty close to mastering this with the supercomputer known as Watson. Watson is the closest we have come to being able to create a machine that is capable of thinking for itself. It was even a “Jeopardy” champion!
The way Watson is able to function is through cognitive computing. The way this works is rather than following the usual computer structures such as the “if this, then that” type of behavior, Watson is able to take in information and is able to think for itself regarding the solution of the problem. It is also able to increase its intelligence over time by using its current knowledge to solve problems quickly and efficiently. It seems that its abilities have no end and has done some impressive things. For example, Watson worked with the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and created 65 new recipes by using its knowledge to learn what ingredients work well together. It also read millions of medical studies which allowed it to learn about health and wellness. Recently Watson was taken to California in order to assist with a big issue.
It has now become common knowledge that California is suffering from a major drought. In order to try and fix this problem, the environmental consulting firm known as OmniEarth has hired Watson to track the water usage in California. In order to do this, Watson will learn as much as possible by looking at satellite images. As it looks at the farms and deserts and backyards of California it will begin to notice trends and patterns. It will be able to figure out where all the water in California is going just by looking at the images and thinking. When it does this, it will be able to see who is using too much water and where we need to distribute more water.
Jerome Pesenti, vice president of IBM’s Watson platform shared, “Watson doesn’t know anything about water usage or Earth images. But if you give it some training images, the system can take those as examples and learn from them." Because of this, Watson will become smarter and even better at its job. Even though at the moment it is simply information, eventually California will be able to use it to make real change. The data will allow governments to create customized water budgets for each community. But that is not all Watson is capable of. Watson will be able to tell people when they are abusing water usage, because most of us are not aware of the amounts of water we use, and it will be able to tell us various ways on how to cut back on it. The places that are really suffering from lack of water will come under Watson’s radar and we will be able to get water there. Maybe there will be a time when California’s water shortage will be over.