Cognitive Computing – Short Explanation

What is Cognitive Computing?

Cognitive computing (CC) is a subcategory of Artificial Intelligence. It primarily focuses on the computer’s ability to think, learn, and make decisions just as humans. Even though it is new, the concept has been around for several years. cognitive computing refers to computers that are programmed to learn independently and solve problems intelligently.

Cognitive systems aren’t designed to solve specific problems. It learns from experience and data they have gathered. Thereon, they analyze the data for developing customized strategies and solutions. Self-learning systems interact with the environment in real-time and use details for developing their own insights.

The Idea behind Cognitive Computing

With Cognitive Computing, it becomes easier to imitate human thought processes using AI applications. It makes it possible to create your own strategies and solutions on the basis of previous experience. CC goes beyond basic machine learning and states that a computer gathers data from a body of information that can later be accessed and recalled. It analyses the situation based on this and compares it to known facts. Thereafter, it makes a recommendation in just a few seconds.

It has become a race to create expert knowledge systems. Cognitive computing is being used in multiple industries and more providers are going to emerge in the future. Emerging players will focus on facilitating unassisted learning algorithms for better and faster deployments. Eventually, the cognitive system is going to emerge as intelligent digital assistants.

What does Cognitive Computing Do?

Cognitive computing is all set to become a technological game-changer. The technology recognizes objects, understands languages, identifies tests and scenes, and also recognizes the voice while interacting with humans and other machines without any hassle. One thing that machines cannot do but humans can, is form a spiritual connection. These qualities help machines understand humans better, such as Alexa or Siri. Machines fail to understand the cultural and social context of questions. This is the reason Siri and Alexa are not real examples of cognitive computing.

CC analyses large quantities of structured and unstructured data. This helps it make recommendations. The system can do this for any industry, including law, education, finance, and healthcare. For instance, it analyses all data of patients’ records, diagnostic tools, journal articles, and best-proven practices to suggest a doctor with the best treatment plan. No, it is not going to overpower a doctor’s role. Yet, it can help doctors make improved decisions by analyzing a massive collection of data available that humans cannot retain and process for better decision-making.


Structured and unstructured data is available from clickworker in all quantities and in high quality to train your cogntitive computing application optimally.

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Understanding Cognitive Computing in the Real World

While AI is still developing, growing, and evolving, companies understand how it works and they are using it in a variety of industries around the world. AI is something we have all started to become familiar with. We use it in our lives almost daily – smart assistants like Alexa and Siri, and a future populated with AI driven autonomous vehicles is becoming ever more likely.

Cognitive computing is not as commonplace. Instead, it is a bit of a mix of cognitive science (the study of the human brain) and computer science. As a subfield of AI, it is focused at a higher level and attempts to bring human understanding, knowledge and judgement to an issue. CC understands more than simple data.

A key point to realize about AI, is that it can only be as smart as the people that are teaching it. With cognitive computing, that distinction does not exist because these systems can teach and educate themselves.

AI and Cognitive Computing Differences

The basic use case of Artificial Intelligence is to implement the best algorithm for solving a problem. However, cognitive computing goes further to mimic human wisdom and intelligence by studying a series of factors. Cognitive computing varies widely from Artificial Intelligence in terms of concept.

  • Cognitive Computing Learns and Imitates Human Thought Process
    Unlike AI systems that only attend to a given problem, cognitive computing can learn from the data and patterns to suggest human relevant actions depending on their understanding. When it comes to AI, the system takes complete control and uses a pre-defined algorithm to avoid a certain scenario or take the necessary steps.
    However, cognitive computing can be applied to different fields where it performs the role of an assistant rather than the one completing a task.
  • Cognitive Computing Does Not Throw Human Out of the Picture
    Cognitive computing enables users to analyze data faster and more accurately without worrying about being wrong. Its main aim is to assist humans with their decision-making. Unlike AI, it doesn’t completely disregard humans.
Introduction to Cognitive Computing & Artificial Intelligence
Introduction to Cognitive Computing & AI – A video by Dr. Daniel Soper

What are the Features of Cognitive Computing

Cognitive computing uses pattern recognition and machine learning to adapt and make the most of the information, even when it is unstructured. To provide these benefits, cognitive computing usually offers the following attribute.

Adaptive Learning: Cognitive systems accommodate an influx of rapidly changing data and information, which helps in fulfilling the growing set of goals. It can process dynamic data in real-time that modifies itself as per the data needs and surrounding needs.

Iterative and Stateful: CC identifies the issues by posing questions or taking out supplementary data if a query is vague or incomplete. The technology ensures this by storing details about potential scenarios and related situations.

Interactive: Human-Computer interaction is an imperative aspect of cognitive machines. Users interrelate with cognitive systems and lay down parameters. But the parameters keep changing. The technology interacts with other processors, devices, and cloud platforms.

Contextual: CC systems have to identify, gauge, and dig contextual data, such as domain, syntax, time, requirements, or a particular user’s profile, tasks, and goal. The system draws data from multiple sources of information, including visual, auditory, or sensor data. It also collects information from structured and unstructured data.

What is the Scope of Cognitive Computing?

Cognitive computing system makes new class problems computable. It responds to complex situations characterized by uncertainty and has far-fetched impacts on healthcare, business, and private lives. These three capabilities are associated with how people think and display their everyday cognitive abilities.

  1. Engagement
    The cognitive computing systems have large collections of structured and unstructured data. These can develop deep domain insights and offer expert assistance. The models developed by this system include the contextual relationship between different entities in a system that allows it to form arguments and hypotheses. Thus, it can reconcile self-contradictory and ambiguous data.
  2. Discovery
    It involves finding insights and gauging a large number of developing skills and information. The models are developed on unsupervised machine learning and deep learning. With the increasing volumes of data, there is a need for systems that take advantage of information more efficiently than humans could all by themselves. Even though it is still in the early stages, a few discovery capabilities have already emerged.
  3. Decision
    Cognitive computing systems are created using reinforcement learning. Decisions, which are made based on cognitive systems keep evolving on the basis of new outcomes, information, and action. Autonomous decision-making is based on the ability to locate why a certain decision had been made and alter that confidence score of a response.

What are the Advantages of Cognitive Computing?

The advantages of cognitive computing are aplenty. Let’s check them out.

Analytical Accuracy: Cognitive computing is seasoned at cross-referencing and juxtaposing structured and unstructured data.

Customer Interaction and Experience: The relevant and contextual information offered by cognitive computing to customers through tools, such as chat boxes and improves customer interaction. A combination of personalized recommendations, cognitive assistants, and behavioral predictions improves customer experience.

Efficiency of Business Processes: Cognitive computing systems recognize patterns while analyzing big data sets.

Service Quality and Employee Productivity: Cognitive systems help employees to study structured and unstructured data and derive data trends and patterns.

How is Cognitive Computing Used?

Cognitive computing uses technology, such as machine learning and signal processing to expedite human interactions. You might have already talked to a customer support bot to give out commands to Alexa or Siri, the personal digital assistants. Sure, they are helpful but they are pre-programmed. Thus, its interactions are limited. The bots or personalized digital assistants don’t have the ability to read or give complex responses. But in the near future, we will be able to talk to these assistants and receive a thoughtful response.

But the field of cognitive computing is evolving at a rapid pace as new applications are being introduced in education, business, and healthcare fields.

What are the Applications of Cognitive Computing?

Cognitive computing has real-life applications. It is being used in almost every field. Here is a list of them.

Applications of Cognitive Computing

  1. Banking and Finance: Cognitive computing in the banking industry helps in improving customer engagement, operation efficiency, customer experience, and growing revenue. New analytics, deeper contextual engagement, and enterprise transformation will reshape financial and banking institutions.
  2. Logistics: Cognitive computing system helps in compiling storage code, automating picking with an automated guided vehicle, and using warehouse robots to improve work efficiency. It will help with inventory optimization, warehouse infrastructure management, and warehouse operations.
  3. Retail Business: E-commerce platforms have integrated cognitive analytics to collect basic information from customers about the products they are searching for and then analyze the available data to create a customized recommended product category list.
  4. Cyber Security: Cognitive computing helps prevent cyberattacks, providing a technical alternative to detect any misinformation and misleading data and making people less susceptible to manipulation.
  5. Healthcare: With cognitive computing systems, medical professionals can make an improved treatment decision, while improving patient outcomes. It depends on medical transcripts, real-time patient information, and other data to work on human decision-making.
  6. Education: The system can change the way schools and colleges operate. Cognitive computing will help provision personalized study materials to students and guide them through the coursework. It will help students understand the critical concept at their own pace.

What are the Technologies Used in Cognitive Computing?

The cognitive computing process uses a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks, sentiment analysis, natural language processing, and contextual awareness to solve daily problems just like human beings.

How can Cognitive Computing Help Improve Human Expertise?

Cognitive computing simulates human brain activity for solving even the most complex issues in business process management. So, it can fasten, enhance, and scale human expertise by:

  • Reasoning, forming hypotheses, creating arguments and plans, and helping users by studying both context and content.
  • Understanding sensory data or natural language with humans, offering unbiased advice autonomously.
  • Offering progressive support for improving operational efficiency.
  • Learning, sensing, and dedicating a meaning, which creates new value and insights.

How can Organizations Evolve from Conventional Business Processing to Cognitive Business Processing?

Shifting from conventional business processing to cognitive business processing needs systematic adoption and execution. In order to be cognitive, the process has to think and learn based on the conventional framework. The process includes enriching the conventional process with knowledge, improving the system with decision-making, and using insights to expand the businesses. The approach can be categorized into four high-level phases:

  • Discover: On a high level, the cognitive processing journey begins with collaborative discovery to learn and define the old business process. It requires studying organizational readiness and gauging process candidates through a cognitive opportunity assessment.
  • Define: The next step is elaborate on the actionable insights collected from the business pain process and actual process usage. The findings can help note down prospective areas for cognitive capabilities, enabling plans to be based on the associated technology needs and list.
  • Design: The future cognitive process model is discovered during the design phase along with a strategy to collect insights from unstructured data.
  • Develop: Ultimately, the recognized, identified, and explored abilities are set up using prototypes for testing in actual use cases.

What are the Ethical Considerations of Cognitive Computing?

With cognitive computing systems being extensively used, the problem of data privacy is more likely to increase. To analyze patterns, cognitive systems study a large amount of data. These data can include personal details about individuals. Without proper protective measures, user data can be used for nefarious activities.

Another pressing issue of cognitive computing is the training of bias in systems involving predictive analysis. These systems depend on artificial intelligence techniques that learn from data that can sometimes contain basis. For example, if there is an algorithm for hiring that has been programmed to present strong candidates on the basis of historical data since the previous candidates might have been chosen through human biases, the algorithm can favor some over others. This can lead to gender or racial bias.

While human patience and attention are limited, the emotional energy of a computing system isn’t. Its limitations can be technical. Even though this can prove to be advantageous for fields, such as customer services, limitless capacity can lead to human addiction to automated tasks. With the help of these ideas, many apps are using algorithms for nurturing addictive behavior. Cognitive computing can also lead to unemployment. As the systems improve and advance to perform more critical tasks, they can start to replace workers from various fields. It will lead to economic dislocation and large-scale unemployment. Also, it can create an imbalance between people having access to these technologies and those that don’t.

What are the Challenges of Cognitive Computing?

Like every new technology, cognitive computing is facing some issues, even if it has the potential to change lives. A few challenges encountered by cognitive computing systems are:

  • Security
    Since digital devices are handling crucial information, it automatically raises the question of security. Cognitive computing handles a large amount of data, and it is challenging to maintain data security with proper encryption technology. As more and more connected devices are being introduced, cognitive computing has to consider the problems related to security breaches by coming up with a full-proof security plan.
  • Adoption
    Any new technology faces a problem with adoption. To ensure the success of cognitive computing, experts have come up with a long-term plan. The adoption process can be streamlined by collaborating with various stakeholders, such as organizations, technology developers, the government, and individuals.
  • Meticulous Training Process
    The cognitive system requires data training for the users to completely understand the process. Its slow training process is one of the reasons behind its slow adoption. Every employee dealing with this system in an organization has to review it. The expensive and complex process of using a cognitive system makes things worse.
  • Lengthy Development Cycles
    One of the primary challenges is the time required to develop scenario-based applications through cognitive computing. Currently, it is being developed as a generalized solution. It implies that the solution can’t be implemented across multiple segments of the industry without the right development teams and a significant amount of time to come up with a solution.
    Lengthy development cycles make it difficult for smaller companies to come up with cognitive systems of their own.
  • Change Management
    Another crucial challenge CC has to overcome is change management. Usually, people are resistant to change due to their natural human behavior, and cognitive computing has the ability to learn like humans. So, it leads to the fear that machines are soon going to replace humans. It is a great example of human-machine interaction, which people need to accept.

What is the Future of Cognitive Computing?

Even though cognitive computing is yet to reach its full potential, there are infinite possibilities when it comes to its future implementation. It can help humans offload their cognitive load. So, it can help in making better decisions by offering timely and accurate data and can automate repetitive tasks to let us focus on more important things.

People dealing with portfolio management strategies can use the technology for achieving greater resource allocation, collate data, and track multiple projects from various sources. In the future, more and more companies are going to use cognitive computing to improve customer service, cost analysis, and risk management.

Cognitive computing in the future can be used in a myriad of ways. The technology can be used as a means to support internal troubleshooting and third-party software. With more companies pledging resources to the technology’s development and as more people embrace it in their personal lives, we will see further improvement in the technology. So, cognitive computing is surely here to stay.