Global technology and innovation behemoth IBM may not be posing any threat to Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa, it is positive that their Watson platform, in all its different aspects, will be used to engineer AI apps, smart chatbots and similar stuff soon. In an interview at the MWC, Watson projects CTO and IBM’s very own Rob High spoke about the topic at length.

Commenting on the fact that almost every other developer seemed to be working upon their own specialized voice-activated devices, High said that the present generation chatbots or virtual agents are not up to the mark. He added that soon, IBM may have technology which can provide the users the convenience they seek while creating virtual agents.

Stating that mobile applications, web applications, IVRs, all stood to benefit from having a virtual agent, he said that such agents could conduct a conversation with more depth than you classically see with Siri or early version Alexa chatbots.

He also said that IBM will soon introduce superior cognitive technologies which will enable  deeper level of reasoning, necessary for sustaining a conversation.

According to High, this is not replicating human intelligence, in any aspect. The concept of  “Cognitive computing” is to enhance human cognition — be it a conversation, or a more complex situation of making a discovery, where the sole aim is to come up with new ideas, seeing things with different perspectives, shunning your prejudice and emerging out with new plans.

Stating that the human lifetime was not the correct measure for the kind of history that systems like Watson will create for themselves, he said that why would a company want to create something resembling a human mind when we already had over 8 billion of those.

However, the best way to harness this intelligence remains unknown. At that too of a very high degree, high enough to sense your “presence.” The future is of a system which will read your mood and play the music accordingly, and stop when you start conversing. How this intelligence would look like is also unknown.

He believes that Watson’s capabilities of performing higher level reasoning — at least by two degrees — gives it a upper hand against all its competitors.

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