In less than 10 years the volume of our business computing will change from transaction processing to cognition processing. So said IBM's Robert High in his keynote talk at RoboBusiness.
This is an important enough trend to stimulate IBM to put over $1 billion into their Watson group - a group working on healthcare, legal and other industry segments that can benefit from the same cognition processing technology which enabled Watson to win at Jeopardy. And it's an important enough trend effecting the human-machine interaction space that it is noteworthy in relation to the RoboBusiness conference.
High, CTO of IBM's Watson Group, described the emerging era of embodied cognitive computing leading to providing cognition as a service, as a 3rd hand such as a lab technician might need, or as a concierge as Jibo and Echo (and human concierges) offer, as an office assistant might provide and in field settings like search and rescue. The cognition process involves machines interacting with humans in writing, verbally, with tactal and visual cues and with gestures.
In another talk ABI Research's Dan Kara described how technology is transitioning to have constant connection to the Internet of Things (IoT) - from self-describing tags telling robots what they are - thereby supporting the robots perception and manipulation processes - to robots acting as gateways for all the IoT devices that might need to communicate with the robot and perhaps each other, to the ultimate situation of everything being ubiquitously connected to everything.
“There were winning startups in every category,” said competition organizer Andra Keay. “Every investor could find something to interest them, from cloud based simulations and new sensing technologies to eldercare, rehabilitative and social robotics.”
In the exposition hall - with over 70 exhibitors - one could see the first public appearance of the new Sawyer robot from Rethink Robotics performing a machine-tending application. Across the aisle was Softbank and Aldebaran's Pepper robot high-fiving and smiling at passers by.
These were just a few of the highlights of day one of RoboBusiness, an annual business-focused robotics conference and trade show produced by EH Publishing.
Tomorrow's keynote presentations include Ray Kurzweil talking about the coming merger of robots and biology.
More to follow.