IBM Watson, MIT Partner To Advance AI Efforts

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 21, 2016


Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence are hot topics these days, drawing the attention of C-suite executives, not just technologists and research scientists. Recently, IBM Research and MIT’s Department of Brain & Cognitive Science announced a multi-year joint effort to develop cognitive computing systems that can copy a human’s ability to understand multiple sources of audio and visual information at once.

For example, a person can watch a video, and then describe what happened in it and also make predictions about what might happen next. In other words, the computer may explain exactly like a human which in other words can have a huge implication in business settings. Computers with advanced machine vision capabilities could eventually be used in healthcare, education, and entertainment, according to a press release.

The new IBM-MIT Laboratory for Brain-inspired Multimedia Machine Comprehension (BM3C) will open this month in Cambridge, MA at both the IBM Research Center and on the MIT campus. Researchers will attempt to program machines that can recognize patterns and make predictions based on things they see and hear.

MIT Professor Jim DiCarlo, currently the head of the Department for Brain & Cognitive Sciences, will lead the BM3C. Researchers from both institutions will build on the IBM Watson platform to make further AI advances.

“Our brain and cognitive scientists are excited to team up with cognitive computing scientists and engineers from IBM to achieve next-generation cognitive computing advances as exposed by next-generation models of the mind,” DiCarlo said adding that “We believe that our fields are poised to make key advances in the very challenging domain of unassisted real-world audio-visual understanding and we are looking forward to this new collaboration.”

“The vision is that this integrated cross-disciplinary research will lead to advances that are likely to change both our personal and professional lives—from helping clinicians improve elderly and disabled care to helping organizations maintain and repair complex machinery as well as a host of cross-industry applications,” IBM researchers stated.

“In a world where humans and machines are working together in increasingly collaborative relationships, breakthroughs in the field of machine vision will potentially help us live healthier more productive lives,” said Guru Banavar, chief scientist of cognitive computing and vice president at IBM Research, in a press release.

IBM has become increasingly interested in the potential of AI, which together with other cognitive systems promise to improve, complement or automate a wide range of work activities that today are largely done by humans, including both manual and knowledge workers. These solutions replace repetitive work and other tasks that don’t create long-term value. In other cases, these solutions can augment human capabilities while preserving their unique qualities. In turn, they lead to considerable upsides, including lower service costs, better quality and consistency, higher compliance and enhanced outcomes through faster, more informed decisions.

While AI developments have already helped researchers in a variety of fields, it’s important to remember that we are still in the early stages of tapping this technology’s full capabilities, said Banavar in a blog post on Tuesday. Banavar also announced new partnerships with five other universities to further developments in optimized systems, cybersecurity, conversational technology, and deep learning, among other subjects.

IBM also provides courses on various cognitive computing topics to more than 250 universities, allowing students to access Watson technology. The Big Blue is also partnering with six other universities to advance AI research on a variety of topics.