The Problem I Want IBM's Watson to Tackle

 
 
By Jessica Davis  |  Posted 2011-02-22 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

self destroying sticker seal of the TSA, stick...

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Channel Insider's Jennifer Lawinski has put together a great list of applications of a more personal nature for IBM's Watson supercomputer to tackle. You'll remember Watson beat out human champs at Jeopardy! recently and IBM has said its baby is well suited to solve problems for legal, medical and a host of other industries.

Personally, I'd like to see Watson help out TSA (Transportation Security Administration). While your airline has enabled you to check in via a relatively short line and all the airlines together have a pretty good idea of how many people are scheduled to travel on any particular day, staffing at TSA does not seem to reflect the ebbs and flows of air passengers. How many times have you waited in a lengthy line to go past the security checkpoint and nearly missed your flight? Wouldn't it be helpful if we put Watson to the test on this? Watson could help TSA figure out peak travel times, adjust for weather delays, and schedule an appropriate amount of staff to open enough lines to meet those demands

Also, if Watson can be programmed for natural language, understanding nuances and idioms and jokes, isn't it possible that "he" could also be programmed to detect behaviors, body language and facial expressions exhibited by those with nefarious motives as distinguished from your typical vacationer, business traveler, or middle-aged woman heading to her sister's funeral?  That's pretty much the kind of work the protagonists on the television show "Lie to Me" do.  However, with Watson, any remaining cultural biases could be removed. There would be no talk of racial profiling. It would be about behaviors rather than prejudicial racial profiling or, on the other extreme, annoying random targeting.

What about you? What problem would you like to see Watson solve?

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