IBM WatsonI really hope IBM succeeds with its “cognitive computing”/Watson efforts.  IBM’s ability to reinvent itself from mainframes to services to software and now maybe to cloud and cognitive computing is a true American success story.  (Warren Buffett is betting on it too!)  Having said that, I must admit I’m tiring of the Watson marketing onslaught.

At the recent Global Procurement Tech Summit (see here, here, here), IBM demonstrated Watson helping an employee purchase an LCD projector via their mobile phone.  Watson made sure the projector met the employee’s needs and followed company policy–just by asking a few product-specific use case questions.  I got to thinking, wouldn’t it better if Watson worked on things that really matter?

More Important Watson Tasks

Watson if you are so smart, why don’t you:

  • Create a better commercial for yourself. (I get a kick out of the Richard Thaler one, but the Bob Dylan one?!)
  • Tell a road weary traveler which of two flights is going to leave earlier and which flight crew is more likely to “time out”? (That one would be big for me.)
  • Make it easy for Americans to register to vote and vote online without fraud. (Had to throw in a serious one.)
  • Figure out the optimum size and placement of the air handlers in a men’s bathroom (apparently this one is unsolvable).
  • Figure out the fastest way to board an airplane. (Lots of travel last week.)
  • Devise a better solution for hotels than the plastic room key card and it’s 50% failure rate. (Did I mention lots of travel last week?)
  • Figure out how I can invest in the movie version of Hamilton.

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