Tuesday September 6th, 2016 – On a new session of the Engineering and Science Talks, organized by A New Engineering for 2030, FCFM was honored to receive Doctor Bernard S. Meyerson, Chief Innovation Officer at IBM, who gave the talk “The Cognitive Era: AI (Accessible Intelligence) Comes of Age”, in which he addressed the upcoming global challenges which call for innovation, and especially cognitive computing as a great move forward into the future in areas such as medicine.
Dr. Meyerson’s presentation is also part of the series of activities of the Entrepreneurship in Health Tournaments, led by Engineering 2030 Project Deputy Head and scholar at FCFM Juan Velásquez, along with the new Innovation and Entrepreneurship Laboratory (OpenLab).
“We want to foster the creation of technological enterprises which solve real problems in the health area. Through the IBM Entrepreneurship Tournament, we expect to increase participants’ knowledge and capabilities regarding development and transfer of new technologies, business management, marketing of R+D results and management of high performance multidisciplinary teams”, Velásquez said.
The OpenBeauchef-IBM Entrepreneurship Tournament Prof. Velásquez is referring to is already at its final stage. Its aim is to promote an interest in the solution of problems in the health area through the development of innovative and technological actions, among students from all universities.
“Why innovating?” That was Dr. Meyerson’s first question to the audience at Enrique d’Etigny Auditorium. The answer was quite simple: the most necessary capability in order to grow in a company is the ability to innovate. “In today’s world, if you’re unable to innovate, your company will probably die. It’s good to have an infrastructure, but without talented and innovative people, you won’t have good results”, IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer stated.
In this context, he presented the key elements to achieve sustainable innovation, emphasizing the T training, where you must have deep and expert knowledge in a specific area combined with an ability to communicate complex issues. He also added that innovation should never be underestimated, and exemplified this with IBM’s work on hard disk units, since, had innovation not continued in this area, laptops today would probably weigh close to 250,000 tons.
In 2008, IBM asked its community to identify the main global challenges to be addressed in the future and two great unresolved problems came up: food and health. On the latter, Dr. Meyerson referred to the huge amounts of money, between 475 and 750 billion dollars, the US invests yearly in administrative issues and clinical wastes. Also, the mistakes in the way medicines are prescribed, delivered and taken by 1.5 million people every year in that country.
Facing this issue in healt and medicine, IBM’s Chief Innovation Officer introduced University of Ontario’s “Data Baby” project, which comes to revolutionize life with its answers from Big Data.
Along the same line, he talked about cognitive computing in medicine, which is able to analyze millions of data, research and papers in order to have a proper analysis. It is well known that the amount of information produced each year makes it impossible for health professionals to be 100 per cent up-to-date and that is the solution given by “Watson”, a technology platform which processes natural language and automatic learning sources in order to find points of view from great quantities of non-structured data.
Cognitive computing is already set in the present, but future challenges are clear to Dr. Meyerson: “The change in science, technology and society is that people will stop betting on one thing only. For example, there are countries who have bet all on oil, but commodities run out. That’s why we’re moving towards an economy of knowledge, we can use our abilities to use the same sources with the aim of solving different problems”.
The talk ended with a Q&A in which students could clear their doubts regarding health and global challenges by asking the person who was awarded as “Inventor of the Year” by New York State in 1998, among many other acknowledgments for his contributions in innovation.
2030 Press Team