Cognitive Environments     


 photo photo Jeffrey O. Kephart photoAshok Pon Kumar photoJonathan Lenchner photoMichael Muller photo Jeng-bang Yau photo

Cognitive Environments - overview


Cognitive Environments 

Every era of computing delivers a new experience. In this era of cognitive computing, we envision a partnership between humans and learning systems that augment our individual and group cognitive capabilities, particularly those associated with insight and discovery. How would this work? As people inhabit and move across many physical environments, we see a fluid, coherent computing experience through space and time, connected by an ecosystem of cognitive environments inhabited by a society of specialized software agents called cogs. Cogs work in a mutually beneficial partnership with humans to enable better complex data-driven decision-making. We call these partnerships Symbiotic Cognitive Systems.



Distributed Cognition

Cognition does not occur solely (or even mostly) within an individual human mind, but rather is distributed across people, artifacts and environments. The notion of building a society of cogs as the core of a cognitive environment is based upon this belief. Cogs are designed to follow and interact with humans and other cogs across a variety of everyday environments. They engage individually or collectively with humans through a combination of traditional interfaces and adaptive multi-modal interfaces based upon spoken dialog, gesture, and advanced visualization and navigation techniques. They learn and leverage sophisticated models of human characteristics, preferences and biases so they can communicate naturally.



A cognitive environment is an infrastructure inhabited by the society of cogs and the devices that let them behave as one shared integrated resource, enabling “human-computer collaboration at the speed of thought.” Cognitive Environments can look and feel very different (from decision rooms in the workplace, to cars, to homes, to mobile), but by being connected to one another they will feel seamless.

At IBM, we have a research infrastructure (the Cognitive Environments Laboratory, known as the CEL) where we develop and refine the building blocks of Cognitive Environments. The CEL allows us to explore real-world use cases through experimentation and innovation with clients.



Symbiotic Cognitive Experience in Action

Cognitive environments enhance the ability of business managers, emergency planners, and executives to make more effective strategic decisions. The relationship goes beyond interface and interaction, to trusted long term collaboration between cognitive computers and human beings.

In the field of oil and gas, a deeply interactive and significantly more collaborative cognitive environment enables geologists, geophysicists, petrochemical engineers, economists, planners, and developers to come together in a single environment that leverages their individual and unique skills, tools and applications, to collectively influence the course, plan, and direction of strategic decisions for higher quality outcomes.

M&A is an essential part of strategy for profitable growth. Yet optimal identification and successful integration of the right target company is complex. Firms using a cognitive environment can more naturally highlight value and synergy opportunities, visualize trade-offs, and explore what-if scenarios to ensure that the right decision is made.

Emergency planning requires quick and accurate decision making, and can benefit from a set of cognitive agents who can quickly explore successes and failures from past data to recommend options and trade-offs for allocating scarce funds and deploying emergency crews in the most vulnerable locations.