The APQC Blog

Cognitive Computing and Analytics Will Bring Big Changes

Cognitive computing will be as disruptive to organizations in the next decade as social media was in the last. Maybe more. 

Cognitive computing, along with its engines machine learning and predictive analytics, will radically transform the way we interact with content and each other in our digital lives. Content management, collaboration and the entire search experience will change and become more personal, more customized, and more automated.

Cognitive computing tools—adaptive and interactive systems that enable computers to handle more complex, context-driven problems usually reserved for human intelligence—have the potential to profoundly change how subject matter experts function and make decisions. APQC’s research suggests that cognitive computing machine learning is already starting to play a significant role in industries such as healthcare, software, financial services, and oil and gas exploration.

Cognitive computing is built on self-learning computer systems that use data mining and machine learning to simulate human thought processes. The software applies sophisticated algorithms to structured and unstructured content to provide personalize, customized, and intuitive responses to a human user’s search or question. This is where the analytics comes in.

The technology of machine learning and cognitive computing is approaching the level of simple artificial intelligence (AI) with the ability to understand the user’s intent and role and then to supply context and suggestions based on what an employee in that role should need to know at that point as well as the past behaviors of that employee.  

For example, a novice structural engineer would be served up results pertaining to her project, guided by her own past searches and searches by people in similar roles or projects. She may also get pointed to other people interested in her topic and how they are tied to her through other relationships (Six Degrees of Separation).  The system might also anticipate what she should see:

“Look, you have searched for this several times. I’m going to start showing this to you regularly every Monday and Thursday when you sign in.”

This 4th level is almost artificial intelligence: alerting when issues arise. Further the information can be displayed as a visual array showing how that information relates to other concepts and information.

For the first time, we might really get information served to us just in time, just enough, and just for me.

Want more information on this topic? Check out our recent webinar, Knowledge Management in 2016 and Beyond: Questions and Predictions (Community Call). Or stay up to date with our upcoming cognitive computing and analytics research by visiting APQC’s research agenda.

You can connect with me on Twitter @odell_carla