The much-ballyhooed run of IBM’s Watson computer system of the venerable TV quiz show “Jeopardy!” is no trivial matter for those in the insurance industry who are interested in the future of analytics.
Indeed, Watson’s facility at answering questions by understanding natural language may portend a future in which insurers increasingly rely on computers to augment--and in some instances supplant--human decision making. While this editor believes Watson’s hardware specs are impressive (90 IBM Power 750 servers using 15 terabytes of RAM and 2,880 processor cores) it is IBM’s DeepQA technology that is more germane to insurers. Under development for many years, the company says the software represents a leap forward in the maturity of intelligent systems and language processing in general. What’s more, due to feedback algorithms, Watson evinces an ability to learn from correct and incorrect answers.
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