Book Review: Smart Machines

Smart Machines starts out talking about Watson – the computer that competed on Jeopardy and first started making people aware of the power of “smart” machines. Computers are being taught to learn new things over time and not just compute simple things any more!

These computers are truly an amazing things and they can help humans do so many things that we otherwise couldn’t do, or perhaps could do but at a much greater cost. The book is really interesting for those who are interested in computers and technology and all that (like me).  It talked about how in the early testing stages Watson made laughable mistake after mistake while the researchers were fine tuning it. I am sure that really helped them learn a lot about how Watson was interpreting things and how they could change him to make things more accurate.

It is amazing to see what developers think that we can be using computers for in just the next 5 years. They will continue to make our lives easier and help out many in the process. I can’t wait to see which of these predictions will end up coming true – and if they all do – I think the medical world will advance the most in leaps and bounds. Especially when patients have problems stumping their doctor – a super computers “brain” could compute all the symptoms and maybe even detect diseases based on SMELL. How incredible would that be?

This is all truly exciting stuff and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.

I received a free e-copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in order to write this review. I was not otherwise compensated.

About the Book

We are entering a new frontier in the evolution of computing: the era of cognitive systems. The victory of IBM’s Watson on the television quiz show Jeopardy! signaled the advent of this new era, revealing how scientists and engineers at IBM and elsewhere are pushing the boundaries of science and technology to create machines that sense, learn, reason, and interact with people in new ways.

In Smart Machines, John E. Kelly III, director of IBM Research, and Steve Hamm, a writer at IBM and a former business and technology journalist, introduce the fascinating world of “cognitive systems” to general audiences and provide a window into the future of computing. Cognitive systems promise to penetrate complexity and assist people and organizations in better decision making. They can help doctors better diagnose and treat patients, augment the ways we see, anticipate major weather events, and contribute to smarter urban planning. Kelly and Hamm’s comprehensive perspective describes this technology inside and out, and their extensive knowledge illuminates the difficulty of harnessing and understanding “big data,” one of the major computing challenges facing technicians in the coming decades. Absorbing and impassioned, their book will inspire governments, academics, and the global tech industry to work together to power this exciting wave in innovation.

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