Irvine Company Innovation Day

Past Tides
May 4, 2017 By Karena Phan

The Irvine Company hosted its annual Innovation day on March 20 at the Cove. Its members and leaders discussed new technologies implemented in Irvine Company buildings and their benefits. They also explored technology that they could implement in the future. Keynote Speaker Neil Sahota from IBM Watson introduced the concept of AI and how it can be integrated into everyday life.

Neil Sahota is an IBM master inventor and the worldwide business development lead in the IBM Watson Group. His work experience includes roles as a thought leader consultant for IBM Global Business Services, and business mentor for IBM Extreme Blue. He is also a member of Tech Coast Angels and a professor at the Paul Merage School of Business. Sahota opened his presentation with a question, “What AI does everyone use on a daily basis?”, to which the audience answered with devices such as the Amazon Echo and Siri. He explained that AI has become very intelligent because machines now learn faster than human beings. The first example he provided was AlphaGo, an AI technology invented by Google DeepMind that beats humans at “Go,” a strategic board game. This led to the rise of, what IBM calls, cognitive computing. Cognitive computing and cognitive based systems accelerate, enhance, and scale human expertise. This is done by machines learning and building upon knowledge, understanding natural language, and interacting more naturally with humans than traditional programmable systems. Over time, cognitive systems will simulate an actual brain and help solve the world’s most complex problems by penetrating the complexity of big data.

Exploring the potential of artificial intelligence, IBM created an AI that uses cognitive computing, named Watson. Sahota described Watson’s many projects. For example, IBM partnered with 20th Century Fox to create a movie trailer using Watson for “Morgan,” a horror film about AI technology. Watson analyzed the movie and picked out the most dramatic scenes to determine what should be put in the trailer. Sahota went on to describe other projects, like how Watson makes music, helps train athletes by analyzing performance and competitors, makes unique recipes using chemistry, trains animals, drives cars, and creates analytics. IBM Watson even partnered with the law firm BakerHostetler to create ROSS, the first AI lawyer.

“AI is not traditional computing, it’s actually the third generation of computing,” Sahota explained. He also described how IBM Watson and AI generally open opportunities to help solve major pain points in life. “We have to think of AI in terms of solving problems first, rather than thinking about how to automate tasks,” Sahota said.