Pop culture has delivered its fair share of iconic characters named Watson over the years but trust us, this Watson has the power to revolutionise business as we know it.

We’ll spare you the technical speak that often comes with the definition of Watson AI. Our team finally settled on this definition after quizzing people on the street to ask them if this made sense to them (we highly recommend this approach for fellow tech geeks who love their jargon).

Put simply, Watson - named after IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson - is an IBM supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence (AI) and sophisticated analytical software, transforming the computer into a powerful question answering machine.

So where was IBM going with this ingenious creation? Originally, they planned to use Watson to solve complex problems before veering of course a little, which has led most people to thinking that Watson is actually something they might encounter while watching a B-grade sci-fi movie. Well, it’s time for those movie lovin’ nerds to step aside because in 2018 and beyond, the possibilities are endless for Watson’s use in everyday life and as a practical business tool. Consider this for a moment:

Tractica (an analyst firm) is predicting that annual Global AI enterprise software revenue will explode from $644m in 2016 to almost $39b by 2025.

With that info in mind and with a little help from this IBM blog, we picked our brains and came up with 8 ways that Watson is likely to be used to benefit the world in the near future.

#1: Rise of the  machines (for good)

Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds. It’s actually not scary at all - autonomous forklifts, drones and robots are already retrieving boxes on behalf of the most successful e-commerce companies. We’re likely to see more vehicles being equipped with sensors to calculate distance and routes to destinations and to prevent and identify potential hazards. Let’s face it, when was the last time you saw a machine texting while driving?

#2: Visual recognition  and more

We’ve all seen facial recondition used in the movies and this is becoming more important for industries such as healthcare, law enforcement, media and entertainment. AI means large amounts of photographs or images can be processed quickly. Meanwhile, visual recognition functions like image classification will help physicians to provide better care for patients.

#3: Medical patient data processing

Paper files have definitely had their day, which is a big plus in our books! Patient data can now be mined, categorised and compared against similar cases. Watson facilitates a more accurate diagnosis by drawing from millions of patient records and suggesting possible treatment methods.

#4: Financial trading strategies

Watson is an investor’s best friend because it assists them in making decisions about what data to buy and hold, as well as sell quantities. It can also help regulators to identify traders who are making fraudulent securities transactions.

#5: Helping to prevent cybersecurity

Make no mistake, cybersecurity is going to be a boom sector moving forward and cognitive security systems can scour vast amounts of threat intelligence available on the internet to help organisations in the fight against hackers.

#6: Waving goodbye to paperwork and transforming it into digital data

Who wants to enter data into systems manually? No one! Watson can help to train systems to digitise records more productively. Companies no longer have to worry about scanning application/service vendor lock-ins, meanwhile, cognitive capture means that unstructured data can be converted into powerful insights through analytics. It can also help organisations to meet legal requirements without having to store paper records. We’re only scratching the surface here but you get the gist.

#7: Powerful intelligence in the workforce of the future

Wouldn’t it be great if we could all benefit from receiving a recommended career path? Watson makes this a reality for employees, in addition to determining the best way to coach and motivate people based on their personality, what makes them tick and so on.

#8: Image analysis in the medical sector

Merge Healthcare manages over a billion medical images in the cloud and is an IBM company. Any X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds and other images on-file benefit from the assistance of Watson Health Imaging to classify the files. It classifies images by body part and other categories and can also tag an image. Physicians benefit from having access to more information and knowledge than ever before so that they can better treat patients presenting with similar symptoms and look towards other cases.

This is all pretty exciting stuff, isn’t it? And this is only the beginning!

Keen to ensure your business is at the forefront of technology? Contact Woven to discuss how we can be of assistance as your long-term technology partners.