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POSTED IN: Cognitive Wingman

2016 Retrospective

Happy Holidays!  

With Emails slowing to a trickle, and a few more days online before a trip to the Ski Hills - 'tis the season for catching up on blogs! 

In 2016 I had the opportunity to chat with people at work and non-work events about how quickly things are evolving in AI and Cognitive.


In 2016 – the Cognitive Wingman idea was very resonant with people (especially when I mimed the little feller on my shoulder).  Whether it’s aerospace, marketing, communications or AR/VR – people understood the amazing potential of their own “Personal Jarvis” to engage and help.


My personal ‘ah ha’ moment was early 2016 - and getting to know Alexa – the Amazon Echo - better.  There she sits on our kitchen bench.  And she’s USEFUL.  

  • She tells our kids jokes
  • She keeps a shopping list
  • She provides ‘on the spot’ Wikipedia details about current conversational topics
  • She plays music and lets us holler at her from other rooms
  • She let's me hack on her skills (the UX is pretty good) - and the acoustics are beautiful


Of course - Siri, Cortana and Alexa are just “First Generation” Cognitive Agents / Cognitive Assistants – and that the Second and Third Generation Cognitive Wingman – will be more personal and more “present”.  And better at the Sensemaking.


Here are a few use cases that people really engaged with:



In an IBM forum, a user asked “How Can I use IBM Watson” –


and in addition to the Jarvis example – I talked a little about “Sensemaking” and understanding – which include understanding the who, and what makes them tick, and reading the room.  IBM Watson services provide a terrific tool kit to do this.



Some folks need a little extra help navigating the world with social complexities – including kids and adults on the autism spectrum.  Back in May I did a rough Cognitive Wingman - Autism Assist Prototype https://dreamtolearn.com/ryan/r_journey_to_watson/37 and empathy https://dreamtolearn.com/ryan/r_journey_to_watson/45  to POC for those use cases.  I think there is terrific potential for cognitive powered human assistance.  The NL Classifier is a great tool to surface social signals, and Tone , as you'd expect - is good for Tone and Emotion.



One word here ;) – “Jarvis”

The Unity + Watson SDK https://github.com/watson-developer-cloud/unity-sdk is a terrific starting point for AR/VR – and what better way to engage with Rocket Launchers or Business Intelligence, than to simply say/ask what you want to have happen.

Now of course you don't need to use IBM Watson Services to build a Cognitive Wingman – there are many other good ingredients available.  But if you’re interested in a rapid prototype – I’d suggest at least a quick peek at Watson Developer Cloud and Bluemix - http://www.ibm.com/watson/developercloud/ .


So as we turn the corner to 2017 – I look forward to seeing what friends, colleagues and partners are going to build with the tools at hand!


Happy Holidays and Happy Coding!


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About the Author

Ryan Anderson

Ryan Anderson

Hi! I like to play with data, analytics and hack around with robots and gadgets in my garage. Lately I've been learning about machine learning.

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Cognitive Wingman - Never Walk Alone

Created: December 20, 2016


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