Adam Gartenberg's Blog

Business Analytics and Optimization, IBM and Social Marketing

New Blog: Analytics for Government

I'm pleased to welcome a new voice to the blogosphere.  My colleague Frank Stein, Director of the Washington, DC Analytics Solution Center has recently kicked off the Analytics for Government blog with a thought-provoking post about the role the "Watson" supercomputer, currently prepping for its spotlight playing Jeopardy! on national TV, might have for government agencies (link: Can a computer that can win at “Jeopardy!” help the Government?).

Contestants on “Jeopardy!” have to understand the clues in light of the Category (context) and then quickly sift through their accumulated knowledge over their lifetime to come up with potential answers, decide if they have confidence in their answer, and then quickly respond by hitting the buzzer.   Except for the buzzer, does that sound familiar and relevant to your job?   Would a computer that could do all that plus cite the evidence backing up its answer be helpful to your job?  If so, then read on. 

The post highlights some of the possibilities raised at the Analytic Solution Center's June seminar, ranging from helping citizens find the answers to questions they might have, to using Watson's underlying text analytics capabilities (provided by IBM Content Analyzer) to identify patterns in auto safety reports and issue alerts much earlier than they are currently generated.

As for more on Watson, here's a great video showing it in action, and click through to the NY Times site for a chance to see how you might stack up against this formidable challenger (I eked out a win, but man am I rusty.  I wouldn't have stood a chance in a timed game.)