Perspectives on Watson: Customer Service

The customer service industry is judged on two criteria: speed and accuracy. Watson, the IBM computing system designed to compete on Jeopardy!, is built to achieve both of these. IBM experts share their thoughts on how the DeepQA technology that powers Watson could transform the customer service industry into a faster, more accurate experience.

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31 thoughts on “Perspectives on Watson: Customer Service

  1. that is 3.000.000 milion jobs lost in the US alone, where will these people get the money to buy a home computer from IBM? IBM loses 3.000.000 million customers

  2. @fluibertje Quite a few stable hands lost their jobs thanks to Henry Ford. The Post Office is struggling due to email. We shouldn't stop pursuing innovation because it will force us to change, we should pursue it because tomorrow's world will be one where human time is spent on even greater pursuits and machines will be picking up the slack.

  3. @TheDaveRoss I agree fully with you!
    But we then need to find a different way to distribute wealth, as fewer and fewer people are going to be needed in the process of manufacturing, maybe not in the coming 20 years but in the next 3-5 decades the changes will be tremendous. the adagio "no job no income" must go. at this moment call center work is somewhat the last refuge of those who's skill's have become obsolete due to automation/ mechanization process.
    what do you think must be done?

  4. @hellonpluto there you go. and what skill's would you advise? because that is the problem, its the ludite falacy problem. the assumption that new tech wil bring new jobs. but what we see now is that no new jobs are created, instead we see that the newjobs are temporary and are quite quickly off-shored to become automated in no time. factory's are filling up with robots as nissan say's hand made by robots!
    so i invite you to name the new skill's to learn that will get 3.000.000 people a job.

  5. @fluibertje machines break and they need people to fix them. You need to study the change curve. I see you are at the resistance part of the curve. Maybe watch the short film "who moved my cheese?". Who dreamt up the 3million people to have no job? LOL

  6. @brownman433 I want Watson to find out EXACTLY who did it, what explosives company they used, every name involved. I believe with an intelligence like Watson's, we may be able to find out. I think only an artificial intelligence at this point is going to solve 9/11, and tell the public EXACTLY who did it. He can work much faster than we can. He is not plagued by distortion, and can surf the net at lightning speeds. And to let Watson, put the information out on the net, so we can all see.

  7. @Aliendear My comment is not perfect, as I am tired right now. But I think there is enough information on the net for Watson to properly surmise who did 9/11.

  8. @hellonpluto machines break down yeah, but the ratio man-hours vs computer will probably dwindle rapidly. my PC did not break down now for a few years :$, yes its old. 3.000.000 i think is reasonable on a working population of 132.000.000 in the united states in 2006. yes its old but really before IT started to hit.
    Many jobs are already lost to off-shoring and automation. a good thing i think, but we have to realize it gets more, much more to IT, if watson is not a fraud ;)

  9. @fluibertje How about 20 hour work weeks for everyone? How about 10 hour work weeks? The work week/day paradigm is always in flux, the 40 hour work week is less than a century old, who is to say that next century it won't be obsolete and replaced by a much shorter one? How valuable is a human-hour? 

  10. Caller: Hey, I'd like to speak with your manager and tell him to fire you.
    Watson: (in a different voice)… I am the manager, can I help you?
    Caller: Could you please fire that moron, he's a no good call center agent.
    Watson: I am afraid your request is not possible, he is a billion dollar asset.
    Caller: What the @#$!! … Am talking to an outsourced agent from India?
    Watson: Sorry Ma'am I thought you'd like that accent… would you like me to answer you in a British accent instead?

  11. On some of those questions on Jeapordy Watson would have got them if it had had more time or more processing power. It was sooo close several times. So just increasing its processing power, not even changing its code, would improve it.

  12. @fluibertje

    Before you start putting any more crazy statistics. Those lost jobs are of only unskilled labour. Human labour still remains for the intellect and management. Americans just have more uneducated hill billys.

  13. @TheDaveRoss i would very much welcome that indeed!!
    If we then also make products that last longer, and that is no problem at all, we can even cut down more.
    But i'd choose say work for a year and then you are 3 years free to choose your own commitments
    maybe we should say, working in the general interest you must do about 25% of your working life, the rest you can make different choices.

  14. @441meatloaf i admire your optimism in that field. i hope its based on real insight end not wishful thinking!
    But i am afraid your are very wrong. i am afraid that specially unskilled labor like for instance housekeeping, cleaning etc are difficult to automate. but jobs concerning routine in administration, legal and financial are after watson easily automated. and easily in about 10 years not now, not yet. but the technology is there. if i see how fast IT progresses, i assume it will increase.

  15. @fluibertje

    It is not optimism its perfectly normal logic. A computer cannot think by itself. A computer only does what human tells it to do by our written programs. So no matter how advance human cybernetics are, Watson similarities cannot and will never replace our administrative jobs which requires human capital and experience. A computer cannot think like a human can.

    CPUs are dumb for a reason because they only follow linear logic.

  16. @fluibertje

    As for my comment in that field, i know that field as I study economics. For you argument that IT can replace routine admin, legal, and financial is wrongly argued. You forgot the fact computers do not have emotions, they only run on logic statements.

    Humans can manipulate emotions which can change the way how we think. Computers will never be able to achieve what we can. Humans are able to fake logical reasoning that computers can never understand. 

  17. @441meatloaf are emotions not a hindrance in the admin legal and financial field. If you'd say a doctor or a social worker can not be replaced then i agree with you. but take for instance tax problems, watson can sort through an enormous amount of solutions given to a tax problem, select the best legally acceptable outcome in a fraction of the time an accountant can, and do that 24/7 Watson will not have a bad night, not be irritated. it's not scary, but should find us prepared.

  18. @441meatloaf but is not a large proportion of this human capital geared towards the recognition of patterns?
    How many jobs are there where its specifically askt not to be creative but follow the guide lines? please dont improvise? dont forget that large parts of our activity's are already geared towards systemic work so computers can process human input.
    of course, jobs where empathy and or emotional involvement is needed will not soon disappear, but many tedious routine non physical labor will.

  19. @fluibertje

    your thinking is wrong. Sure computers can replace many human task. But you are forgetting the fact critical decisions are still made by humans. Computers like Watson will only do the processing and give potential logistics of outcome and probability of the best outcome. Who makes the final output?? Humans do.

    So for you people to consistently think Watson computers are a miracle is absolutely boogers. 

  20. @fluibertje

    Emotions are only a hindrance if people succumb and not think clearly. But it is also emotions that makes us humans more powerful in a certain aspect than computers. 

  21. @441meatloaf i would say versatile. I am far from saying emotions are a bad thing. and succumbing to emotions is as bad as 'falling' for rationality. both are important means to relate to reality.
    Comparing a computer to a human being is comparing apples and pears as we say in Holland.
    Its like comparing hydrolics to muscles etc.
    Hydrolics and IT are both physical exaggerations of a single (human) capacity, both not dangerous, but both changing the world of labor dramatically.

  22. @441meatloaf here i certainly agree with you, the critical decisions should be human based. but once that decision is taken you can automate it, so yes a law firm will still have staff, but they wont be digging through piles of text to find a fitting piece of legislature for that specific case. those jobs are void. And Watson computers are certainly not a miracle, its a result of many years hard work, but ask yourself, what makes the investment relevant?

  23. "A world that is phenomenally more efficient than today's word" THAT IS INCREDIBLY SCARY, I'M SORRY, LIKE SERIOUSLY, HOW LONG UNTIL IT FIGURES OUT HOW IMPERFECT HUMANS ARE!!! D;

  24. @PigeonMaster334 That is a complete misconception. Humans are perfect humans. among each other we differ a bit, but its not that much compared to a computer or a dog for that matter. i know its wide spread, but the idea that computers are better than humans is a very very minimalistic view on humans.

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