Recommendations Report: IBM’s Watson

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Recommendations Report
IBM’s Watson

One night while out to dinner with his coworkers IMB research manager Charles Lickel noticed that the restaurant he was eating at fell to a complete silence. Everyone had their eyes locked on the nearest television; Ken Jennings was in the middle of his 74th consecutive winning streak on Jeopardy. Lickel was intrigued by what had happened that night and decided that beating Jeopardy could be an exciting challenge for IBM. However finding a researcher to take on this challenge was not so easy. It would be a very complex challenge and would require radical innovations in the science of artificial intelligence. Eventually an IBM researcher David Ferrucci and his team took the challenge to create a super computer that could compete on Jeopardy, a fete that was deemed to nearly impossible. The idea of creating artificial intelligence (AI) was not something new, however in order to successfully compete on Jeopardy, IBM would need to create a super computer that could respond to questions in no more than a few seconds. They would also need to develop a system that could answer Jeopardy questions in natural language (something that has never been done before). Artificial intelligence has been on the minds of scientists and researchers since the 1940’s. During this time researches had found that the brain was an electrical network of neurons, other researchers had found consistency in electrical networks, and theories about the use of digital signals to build a thinking machine. These researchers were neurophysiologists, robticians, electronic engineers, and mathematicians, whose ideas suggested that creating an electronic brain could be possible. The first game AI was created by Christopher Strachey a British computer scientist at the University of Manchester. He wrote a checkers program that was later developed by Arthur Samuel. It was the world’s first self-learning program which eventually was able to challenge a “respectable amateur” at the game. This step forward was a demonstration of the essential concept of AI. Game AI would continue to be used as a measure of progress in the development of AI as it competed against the human brain. Types and Patterns of Innovation

IBM was founded in 1911 and is an American multinational technology corporation headquartered in Armonk, NY. IBM is ranked as the 18th largest firm in the U.S. with more than 425 thousand employees in over 200 countries, and has received awards in innovation, technology, and global branding. IBM holds more patents than any other technology company based in the U.S. totaling over 75,000 patents. IBM now has ten research laboratories worldwide, some of the numerous IBM innovations developed in these labs are the ATM, floppy disk, magnetic strip card, deep blue--an AI famous for beating one of the world champions in chess, and its most recent Watson who beat the best of the best, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on the game show Jeopardy. IBM is on the leading edge of innovation and is more likely to develop and adopt new technologies than a new entrant because they have the experience or know how and resources to do so. IBM’s business model is based upon developing new radical innovations. Since 1945 when IBM devoted its first laboratory to science at Columbia University, IBM researchers have been pushing the limits of science, solving vast and complex problems. IBM’s research and advanced development team is the company’s most important source of innovation. As seen in figure 1 a firms internal R&D within divisions is one of the most important sources of research and development work. IBM has recruited some of the best minds in the world. In fact IBM is home to five Nobel Prize winners. Today IBM is engaged in many long-term collaborative research networks with universities, government agencies and businesses. This has helped IBM to build the firm’s absorptive capacity allowing it to better utilize...
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