Many of your may recall the stunt on Jeopardy where a computer from IBM called Watson beat some returning Jeopardy champions. Watson is a computer where you can ask it a question in regular language and it will answer it. This is a big deal, not because it can answer questions but because it can even understand the questions. That was the big breakthrough.
IBM has since been using Watson in various fields such as medical but now they have finally unleashed it for regular developers.
IBM has announced that its supercomputer will be opened up to developers in 2014, using a new, open API that will allow people to write code which can directly take advantage of Watson’s natural language abilities. Developers will be able to ping Watson complex strings of questions and get answers in real time.
This is really cool stuff. So how long will it be before somebody creates an app for education where students can ask questions and get answers? It could be a tutor or teacher.
This kind of technology can be very disruptive because it’s in the cloud. An app using it could be released at any time and run on any mobile device. Imagine a teacher showing up to class on a Monday and having this app all of a sudden on every student’s device. It could even be embedded in e-Textbooks. My ultimate dream would be it as part of a smart toy that kids can ask questions to.