During the Big Data for Media Week conference in London, IBM’s Cognitive Solutions and Internet of Things Director Carrie Lomas guided the audience through the new world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cognitive technology — and how both can be applied to the media industry.

In an age when humans are bombarded with information, even experts face challenges in processing and interpreting the data that are coming at them, Lomas explained. This is where IBM’s cognitive technology, Watson, comes in.

Carrie Lomas, IBM’s cognitive solutions and Internet of Things director, discusses Watson and Artificial Intelligence.
Carrie Lomas, IBM’s cognitive solutions and Internet of Things director, discusses Watson and Artificial Intelligence.

Watson is designed to “think like a human,” rapidly processing massive amounts of information to become an expert on any subject. In a sense, Watson can learn.

“Watson scales expertise to expand what’s possible. Watson doesn’t get tired,” Lomas said.

The cognitive technology creates a new kind of partnership between people and computers that enhances, scales, and accelerates human expertise, according to Lomas. With such capabilities, AI is able elevate every customer’s experience.

Watson, for example, has been utilised in call centers. It is able to understand keywords and sentiments from a call by using natural language processing. The more Watson learns from each call, the better the customer experience gets.

AI also can help make smarter decisions faster. Watson can absorb a vast amount of data, while at the same time being trained by experts, so everyone has access to data and expertise that allows them to make decisions faster.

Lomas believes that cognitive technology is the new competitive advantage. AI can save resources and time, and she presented an example in which AI has the potential to save 20 hours per week in putting together news clips.

AI also can be used to augment the creative design process. In another example, Watson was able to watch an entire movie and select six minutes worth of scenes to make a movie trailer. So AI successfully cut down the process of making a good movie trailer from 10-30 days to less than 24 hours.

Other applications of AI include: visual recognition, online learning and personalization, guided contextual shopping, and a dashboard of cognitive command center.

Lomas encouraged media companies to ask themselves a few key questions to explore how they might leverage AI in their businesses: Could Watson be used to extend your access to knowledge, improve workflow, personalise your client’s experience, tailor your offerings, or one-source publish across devices?