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How IBM’s Watson could boost productivity during the New Normal

How IBM’s Watson could boost productivity during the New Normal

IBM had a briefing this week on how its Watson AI product was used at the U.S. Open  and something jumped out at me that could help overtaxed workers get more work done. I’m hearing a lot of complaints about people having to jump into back-to-back virtual meetings – and getting less done as a result. With

IBM had a briefing this week on how its Watson AI product was used at the U.S. Open  and something jumped out at me that could help overtaxed workers get more work done.

I’m hearing a lot of complaints about people having to jump into back-to-back virtual meetings – and getting less done as a result. With fires up and down the west coast, the ongoing pandemic, weird weather and – in the U.S. – an election, folks are getting overwhelmed. What struck me this week is that Watson could serve as the basis for a virtual assistant to attend meetings (particularly those that are overlapping), take notes, and help us focus on the items to which we need to pay attention. 

What IBM Watson has been doing at the U.S. Open is providing real-time text feedback to those asking questions or wanting to talk about the event. But if it could be trained to a worker’s interests, it could likely attend meetings for you, respond as you would to basic questions, and alert you when you need to engage personally. It could use natural language processing, summarize parts of the meeting that specifically interest you, and free up more of your time to do the actual work.

Let’s talk about how AI could improve productivity.

Project Debator to AI Lieutenant

I had a chance to watch Watson debate a professional debater (Project Debater) several years ago; I still recall thinking that the computer came off as funnier, more interesting, and more likable than the pro – even though it lost the debate. (I thought the judge was biased and, interestingly, one of the discussions about the U.S. Open was how Watson would make a fairer judge or empire.)

The ability to interact in real-time with the massive training databases set up for the debate had me thinking about the broader applications for this technology. For example, when using it for meetings, you likely could create a voice interface and avatar that sounds and looks like you, though I’d recommend against doing so; if the computer responds poorly, that would reflect on the human it was emulating.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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