IBM announced that Watson analytics provides us data analysis and visualization as a service without programming at 4th Dec 2014. It said that “breakthrough natural language-based cognitive service that can provide instant access to powerful predictive and visual analytic tools for businesses, is available in beta”. Let us consider what kind of impacts IBM Watson analytics provides us.
Watson analytics is good at doing natural language processing. For example, if doctors ask Watson analytics how to cure the disease, Watson analytics understand the questions from doctors, research massive data and answer the questions. There is no need to program codes by doctors. It means that we may change from “we should learn computer programming” to “we should know how to have a conversation with computers”. It may enable a lot of non-programming persons to use computers effectively.
In addition to that, Watson analytics is also good at handling unstructured data. These data include text, image, voice and video. Therefore Watson analytics can analyze e-mail, social media contents, pictures taken by consumers. So It may be possible to recommend what we should eat at restaurants by taking pictures of menus there, because computers have our health data and they can choose the best meals for our health by analyzing the pictures of menus.
In terms of algorithm, these functionalities above can be achieved by machine learning. So the more people start using this service, the more accurate answers by computers are because computers learn from a lot of data and are getting better.
IBM Watson analytics may change the landscape of every industry. Traditionally data analysis can be executed by data scientists, using numerical data and programming languages. However this new kind of data analysis by IBM Watson analytics, data analysis can be executed by businessmen/women, using e-mail, pictures and video and natural languages. Machine translation from one language to another will be also available therefore there are less language barrier going forward. This must be democratization for data analysis. It is exciting when it happens in 2015 !
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