Many probably recognize the computer Watson from its famous appearance on the game show Jeopardy, in which it managed to beat human champions and prove the true power of modern computing. Since then, it has gone from a novelty to a serious part of IBM's plan for the future.
A press release posted through PR Newswire recently announced the plan of IBM to try and push Watson into mainstream use through a contest aimed at developers. The release encourages these hopefuls to design an app based on Watson with commercial potential: the wining entires will net their creators jobs working with IBM.
The release contains a quote from the senior VP of IBM Watson group, Mike Rhodin, pinpointing the aspects of the Watson system that might most spur potential entrants.
"Imagine a new class of apps that deliver deep insights to consumers and business users instantly — wherever they are — over the cloud," he said "It's about changing the essence of decision making from 'information at your fingertips' to actual insights."
However, an FAQ featured on the official contest website lists some of the things that Watson, powerful as it may be, can't do, including work with languages other than English or do any independent thinking on its own.
In I.T. organizations, the latest web technologies may be like Watson is for IBM, while some of the older legacy applications still do all the "heavy lifting". Some of these applications can be so complex that modernizing them to a new flashy web UI is almost impossible. In this event, a fast, easily accessed web based terminal emulator can be the bridge to the past that doesn't neglect the future.