In 2011 IBM’s Watson an Artificial Intelligence unit famously won a 100 game set of jeopardy against human world champions. It was really the first time an A.I. had beaten humans in a multidimensional association test. Intelligence through inference, cognitive computing and natural language rather than mere brute force calculation and probability sets. That said, there was plenty of brute force behind Watson. Here’s some of stats from how Watson was configured at that time in 2011:
- It had 3000 Power7 processors.
- A cluster of 90 IBM Power 750 servers.
- It could read the equivalent of 1 million books per second.
- It had downloaded the entire content of Wikipedia.
- It was not connected to the internet for the competition.
- It was the size of a small conference room. (above)
But this was all 5 years ago. Now its the size of 3 pizza boxes.
Imagine if us mere mortals and startup founders could access such computing power. Well, we can, Watson is already in the cloud.
Anyone can access it’s incredible power through the Watson Developer cloud. It even includes 30 day free trials – 30 days with the worlds most powerful A.I. – I can remember when an internet cafe used to charge $20 an hour for dial up to surf sites like GeoCities and Altavista. You can check out all the ways it’s being used here. You’ll see there are incredible opportunities for all manner of business, data usage and cognitive assistance.
This opportunity simply can’t be understated. Yes, IBM benefit from the work you do (it makes Watson smarter) and it will cost money, but heck, you’re getting access to the most powerful thing of it’s kind in the world.
It turns out that while some companies continue to get stronger and more ensconced in our lives – think GAFA, there’s still a move towards democratisation if we care enough to dig around.
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