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IBM in Malaysia: Will AI replace humans?

AvantiKumar | April 3, 2017
'Watson has already been put to the test to diagnose cancer, detect autism, advance early childhood education, transform banking practices, improve farming practices and invent new recipes,' said Chong Chye Neo.

GraphicStock - AI and humans 

Credit: GraphicStock


   According to IDC, by 2018, 75 percent of all consumers will interact with services based on cognitive computing on a regular basis.
Cognitive computing can help Malaysian organisations drive business growth and transformation, said IBM Malaysia managing director Chong Chye Neo (pic below) during a recent demonstration of augmented intelligence (AI) technology in Kuala Lumpur.

Chong said IBM's AI technology - Watson - is now in use in more than 45 countries and across 20 different industries. Deloitte estimates the cognitive computing market will expand in five years to US$50 billion in the U.S. alone.

"Watson is represented by a diverse set of Watson services that span language, speech, vision, and data insights based on more than 50 underlying technologies," Chong said, adding that Watson now powers new consumer and enterprise services in the health care, financial services, retail and education markets.

She added that AI rests on more than 50 technologies and is also part of other rapidly emerging technology trends such as mobility, hyper-connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Chong said "Watson is the first commercially available cognitive computing capability, representing a new era in computing. Watson analyses high volumes of data and processes information more like a human than a computer-by understanding natural language, generating hypotheses based on evidence, and learning as it goes."

IBM Malaysia Chong

Will AI replace humans?

 Chong also addressed concerns on sweeping changes across business and daily life that AI is expected to bring.

"IBM's Watson has been put to the test to diagnose cancer, detect autism, advance early childhood education, transform banking practices, improve farming practices and invent new recipes," she said.

Chong said IBM "is guided by three guiding tenets: purpose, transparency and skills, which are crucial to help people develop trust in an AI system.

"For IBM, the purpose of AI will be to aid humans, not replace them," she said. "For most of our businesses and companies, it will not be a "man or machine" scenario, instead it will be a symbiotic relationship between the two. Our purpose is to augment and really be in service of what humans do."

Chong said that stakeholders "must also be clear or transparent in building AI platforms, the industry domain, how they are trained, and what data was used in training."


"With Watson, institutions can combine their decades of knowledge with industry data. These systems will be most effective when trained with domain knowledge in an industry context," she added.

Skill is the third tenet in addition to purpose and transparency is skills, said Chong. "AI platforms must be built with people in the industry, be they doctors, teachers, or underwriters. And companies must prepare to train human workers on how to use these tools to their advantage."

Her presentation was complemented by live demonstrations of some of the  cognitive technologies currently deployed today in Malaysia as well globally by companies such as Silverlake Axis, Sunlife-I, MDT Innovations and Skymics. In addition, Hong Leong Bank announced an IBM Watson rollout in Malaysia.

The latest edition of this article is at Computerworld Malaysia.


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