IBM's Watson Supercomputer Uses Cognitive Computing To Tackle Autism

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An Article by Robert J.Szczerba (Forbes)

"IBM Watson burst onto the world stage in 2011 when it participated in the trivia-based game show Jeopardy!. The supercomputer beat out two former champions to claim a victory for “artificial intelligence”. Since then, Watson has embarked on a number of challenges across a variety of domains, fromidentifying the best cancer treatments toimproving weather forecasting. For its latest endeavor, Watson is looking to improve the quality of life for individuals with autism and other cognitive disorders.

Autism refers to a group of complex disorders of brain developmentcharacterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and possible repetitive behaviors. The current incidence of autism is 1 in 68 children.

When the media reports on stories related to supercomputers and autism, the topic is usually centered around an attempt to find an “autism cure” through better understanding of genetics and biomarkers. However, what makes this effort interesting is that it’s focused on making life easier for individuals who already have the disorder. Projects such as these are part of a wider societal movement for progressing beyond “awareness” for individuals with special needs, and towards “inclusion and acceptance”. As the father of a wonderful young man with autism, I can certainly appreciate the importance of such efforts."

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