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A Billion Dollar Thought Experiment: National Cognitive Wingman

POSTED IN: Cognitive Wingman

A Billion Dollar Thought Experiment: National Cognitive Wingman


The US Economy’s GDP according to Wikipedia is $18 trillion – that’s trillion with a “T” – thousands of billions.  Massive.


Now let’s imagine if we could create a machine, accessible to the numerous stewards of the US Economy, that would be SYNOPTIC and HOLISTIC – providing a solution to help them make better decisions, manage risk, collaborate with each other – and generally be better stewards.


We consider:


  1. COST BENEFIT – the system would not be cheap to build and operate.  But it would also offer, if it worked, sizable benefits.  
    1. COST: On the cost side, let’s imagine a cheap insurance policy – say a fraction (1%) of 1/100 of one year’s GDP, over a decade.  1% of 1% is 0.0001.    To put that in perspective, if you owned a $1m home, and applied the same ratio, that’s $100 insurance policy that covers 10 years.  For the US Economy, a similar ‘insurance policy’ would be $1.8 billion.  As a benchmark, the F-35 program is $300b+
    2. BENEFIT:  This is hard to price, but we can ask – what is the value of, over a dozen key decisions each year, of eliminating one mistake, or better managing risk.   Housing bubbles; S&L; Derivatives WMDs; Long term economic stagnation; regional dangers, etc..


Necessary Features


So might we build/buy for nearly $2b?



  1. UX ACCESSIBLE - Natural Language / Human Interface (Verbal and Visual) - speak/converse and see to allow normal humans to use it

  2. DATA SYNOPTIC - Plugged into nearly everything

  3. HOLISTIC - Interconnected - and aware of nuance of relationships

  4. SMART - Can answer the hard questions (mathy/predictive, or knowledge retrieval)

  5. EVOLVING & LEARNING - understanding shortfalls, and closing gaps.

  6. SAFE & ETHICAL - of course

  7. PROACTIVE and/or RESPONSIVE -  alerting when bad things are happening that users likely to care about.







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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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