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Security and Cognitive Computing

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June 19, 2017

This is the landing page for my exploration and study about how cognitive computing will impact the scope and design of electronic physical security systems.

When you see a talking computer being advertised on TV as the “new employee” you can hire, you know we’re in an entirely new era of computing technology.

Cognitive Computing

June 20, 2017

This 8-minute video explains the single most important difference between Watson and the previous generation of super computers.

Cyber Security Commercial for IBM Watson

Monitoring cyber security threats is in one sense simpler than monitoring physical security threats: the attack surfaces are defined bu the IT systems infrastructure and can (and should) be continuously monitored. However, as video and other sensor systems advance and become a part of the physical security information landscape, such monitoring will become increasingly more feasible. This is a 30-second Watson commercial.

This Scenario Doesn’t Require Field Sensors

In this Watson 30-second commercial, a wine-grower’s daughter has just “hired” Watson, about whom his daughter states, “He really knows his wine.” Watson advises that Vineyard Block 12 should benefit from decreased irrigation. The text on the screen is, “How do wine-makers use 25% less water to grow better grapes?”

My thoughts after viewing the commercial were:

  • My Realization: You don’t have to have water sensors throughout the vineyard (very costly) to monitor irrigation using satellite imagery (less costly).
  • Commercial’s assertion: Watson really knows wine-growing, and has access to satellite imagery past and current.
  • Commercial’s implication: You can afford Watson because you will have a 25% lower water bill. High ROI.
  • My Suspicions: Watson doesn’t have to be programmed or configured with all kinds of data beforehand. You should be able to use the Watson API to make a query that passes all the relevant data in, such as the vineyard block map in GPS coordinates, type of grapes growing, and perhaps age of vines in each block.

Play the video below and you’ll see how I could have arrived at my suspicions. I followed up and discovered that my suspicions might be very wrong  . . . or may be correct only in some narrow fields of knowledge. See the section that follows below this video for additional information about Watson, and a link you could use to try out Watson yourself for free.


Watson is Not a Super-Computer?

June 21, 2017

About a year ago, Parul Awasthy, a Machine Learning Engineer in the IBM Watson Lab, answered a dozen Quora questions about IBM’s Watson. Parul explained, “IBM’s Watson is not one service/machine/robot (as many think after jeopardy). It is a suite of services available on IBM’s Bluemix cloud. You could open a free account and play with some pre-trained models if they have been trained in the area that interests you. Or you could also train a model to answer your questions.”

Gareth Mitchell-Jones, who also works at IBM, provided the following details on Quora:

  • Watson is not ‘A super-computer’, it is a set of complimentary technologies that provide a set of capabilities that allow the purchasers / renters to provide cognitive style services for a given knowledge domain / use case.
  • Every Watson instance is individually shaped for a given client and requirement.
  • Every Watson instance is effectively a 2 to 3-year-old child when it is initially instantiated.
  • You then have to feed it with content, teach it how to think, how to respond to stimuli and then validate them when the machine returns likely responses in the context of the dialogue or information that it is asked to process.
  • As it learns more things then you have to curate the knowledge to keep the current truth correct. The truth changes with time and the system is designed to augment knowledge recall, perception and recommendations to support humans, not replace them.
  • Most importantly, the Watson instances do not speak to each other.
  • So they are not ‘A super-computer’.
  • To ask Watson a question then you need to find an instance that has been implemented for a company and then hope that the version that you are trying to ask the question of is trained to answer the question that you want to ask.
  • Otherwise it will tell you as much, usually very politely.
  • If you found one today that you could ask a question of, then it would likely be able to answer you if it related to a bank’s processes, an insurance policy query or a great deal of information about oncology symptoms and potential diagnoses.