Cognitive Computing – Short Explanation

Cognitive computing is not artificial intelligence although both concepts do share some similarities and, at their heart, have the same goal of simplifying work and effort. AI is driven by different algorithms and processes while cognitive computing is more focused on reasoning and understanding and could be considered a subset of AI.

While they are both focused on helping to make our lives easier, the way in which these assets perform the task is vastly different. AI is all about data and the provision of accurate information. Cognitive computing, however, is more analogous to human behavior. With cognitive computing, the system reasons out a solution to a problem.

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. Cognitive computing 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

While both AI and cognitive computing have a place in the world of data, it is important to understand their differences. Cognitive computing aims at copying human behavior and mimicking human reasoning in a way similar to how humans would solve a problem. AI is more focused on results.

Cognitive systems like IBM’s Watson use natural language processing to mimic the way the human brain works. These deep learning algorithms process information and the more data the system has access to, the faster and more accurate it becomes.

There are many ways that cognitive computing could help humanity. One key area currently being researched is healthcare. Cognitive computing systems could review and collate patient information from multiple sources to provide doctors with improved treatment options. The goal is not to replace the doctor, but rather provide them with more information so that they are in a better place to make their decisions.