Unleashing Amazing: IBM Watson

Share this post

Louis Richardson will be at Advertising Week New York on the IBM Stage at 9:15 AM, Monday, October 1st sharing his keynote called ‘Survival of the Fittest in an AI World’.

What amazing thing did you do today?

If you have an answer to that question, congratulations. You are among the minority. As a Chief Storyteller at IBM, I have the incredible privilege of seeking out and sharing stories of the amazing things happening around us.

But in that search, the majority of business professionals I encounter don’t feel like they are doing extraordinary work or making a real difference. They’re working hard. They’re extremely busy. But their bright ideas from the morning shower or eureka moments had during the commute seem to instantly fade upon arrival to work. They are overwhelmed by the status quo. Insurmountable emails. Unexpected meetings, and dozens of other, seemingly well-meaning distractions keeping them from work. The same deluge of information and data meant to help us is actually hindering us from doing great things.

Some would say just ignore it. Turn off your phone. Ignore your email. Log off social media. You’ll have more time to think about amazing things. And I must confess, this is an approach I use on occasion. But for those of us who live by our interactions and connections with others, it’s not a consistent way of doing business. We can’t stay in our rooms of solitude. We have to come out and play. This is where I have hope.


There was a young kid in a religious school who was asked this question: “What is small, grey, has a bushy tail and lives in trees?”

I believe it’s the key to us being able to ask questions we never imagined before.

His response, “It sounds like a squirrel, but I know the answer is ‘God’.”

Many of us in the technology space are like that kid and believe AI is likely the answer to every question. While I don’t believe AI is the answer to every question, I do believe it’s the right answer for some of our important ones. And I believe it’s the key to us being able to ask questions we never imagined before.

While many organizations working on Artificial Intelligence are focusing on AI’s ability to provide answers, I’m excited that IBM’s approach is different. It’s not about getting better answers, it’s about asking better questions. And in doing so, making better decisions. Voltaire said, “Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.” It’s less about Artificial Intelligence and more about Augmented Intelligence. It’s how a human plus a machine is greater than any human or machine working alone.

What if you could ignore the mundane and focus your attention and efforts on the meaningful? What if instead of consistently reacting to the trivial, you could use that time to think about the significant? That is why I am looking forward to Watson’s infusion into my daily work and life.

Our work with Watson has helped doctors treat cancer patients, educators impact children with learning challenges, chefs, musicians, designers, screenwriters, marketers and all manner of creative humans to solve big problems. And it’s done so by alleviating the burden of digesting large volumes of information and being present to serve alongside the curious humans who are changing the world around them.

What will this look like in 15 years?

It’s mind-blowing to consider what this will be like in 15 months. Watson had its television debut on Jeopardy in 2011. That’s only 7 years ago. If we take the potential of what we as humans can imagine and multiply that by the incredible insights from AI, like Watson, the only thing I can be sure of is this—it’s going to be different and incredible.

And it’s not just a future to look forward to—it’s a world we can live in today.

Share this post
No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.