Mirja Kaarlela: Meeting with Watson


Team Finland Health started its visit to the US in New York. The city was as energizing as ever and maybe even more now than usual with the 70th Session of the UN General Assembly in town as well. Instead of the UN, we headed to the IBM Client Experience Center right in the heart of Silicon Alley in Manhattan.

Watson is a cognitive system that can be seen as a coach and partner, not a computing system that will replace human touch. In the immersion center it is fascinating to begin imaging the possible futures with data coming alive and making a difference in understanding, knowledge creation and asking new types of questions; whether it is about better health care or more nutritional dinner choices.

We learned that it really is not about artificial intelligence but rather augmented intelligence. It can help us ask the right questions, break away from the status quo and create solutions to real problems that make a difference. As one of our hosts says, "fall in love with the questions, not the answers". The continuum from pure info to meaningful knowledge with the help of cognitive, learning systems will make a difference in many industries.

I think we should consider our national strengths in health care and wellbeing in the light of new ways of conducting business and forming partnerships. Could Partnerships also be with cognitive systems?


Image on the right: "Watson Ecosystem program could serve as a potential platform for Finnish companies to develop their product and services to boost their international growth. On the other hand, I see that Finnish biopanks could offer collaborative ecosystem for further development of Watson especially related to genomics and digital phenotyping", Minna Hendolin from Auria Biopank comments.

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