he relationship between cognitive computing and Artificial Intelligence is that of two technologies that will work in a complementary way in the upcoming years. These are the most advanced resources that a company can have for generating insights and, therefore, are hot topics in the IT environment. However, there is no need for deep studies to learn how these two features will help your business perform better.

In this article, we’ll show you the similarities, differences and how they can be combined to bring benefits to your company. Are you on board?

What is cognitive computing?

Cognitive computing is the use of technology to simulate the decision-making process of a human brain. It is a feature that makes possible solving complex problems, very different from those normally delegated to the machines. These computational models allow companies to deal with situations where responses may be uncertain and should not be confused with Artificial Intelligence.

Although it refers to a way to get computers to help us choose from a range of options, cognitive computing is used in applications other than those in which we apply AI.

Systems are taught not to simply consume information to deliver answers, but to analyze complex situations, taking into account each context, environment, and intention. The idea is that all decisions are made following the same reasoning as a person.

One of the great examples of application of cognitive computing is IBM’s Watson. The software is able to detect information that is both relevant and convenient to a given situation.

Because of this, it can be used in environments such as hospitals and doctors’ offices. Watson for Oncology does just that, providing doctors with treatment ideas that take the patient’s full history and the most appropriate prescriptions to save his or her life.

What does Artificial Intelligence mean?

Artificial Intelligence has been extensively explored by films and other media, but the one we’ve developed has little to do with what Hollywood shows. It also simulates how humans interact with data, but differently from cognitive computing.

An AI can learn, decide, and self-correct. But it does all these things because it was programmed for it, like traditional software. This means that in most cases they are reactive and have a limited memory.

It is possible to program an Artificial Intelligence so that it learns how to write. It is likely, however, that the content produced by it does not make much sense. Although speech recognition and speech patterns are embedded in systems and AIs are able to simulate them, they still cannot write as one of us.

One of the main references of Artificial Intelligence in the market is Deep Blue, also made by IBM. This is the program that was used to defeat the chess player Garry Kasparov in the 1990s. It was able to move the pieces and make a perfect game considering information from games that were introduced on the machine previously.

Deep Blue, however, was not able to use his memory to inform future decisions. It would only analyze situations within a context and choose the right decision. Like Artificial Intelligence systems that interact with us (like Siri), it needed to be given specific commands to react to them.

Therefore, Artificial Intelligence is great for recognizing patterns, identifying anomalies, and automating systems. Combined to cognitive computing, this technology can generate great results.

What do the two technologies have in common?

Cognitive computing and Artificial Intelligence have in common the resources they use to perform their tasks. Machine learning, natural language processing, neural networks, and deep learning are common tools within the two technologies. They can also be applied in similar areas, working well within businesses, industries, and governments.

How do they differ?

It is easy to discern between Artificial Intelligence and cognitive computing by understanding the two concepts. AI relies on algorithms to solve a problem, to identify patterns between data, and to relate them, so that it can deal only with a limited dataset and indicate solutions that have been fed into the system.

However, cognitive computing instances are taught how to think, simulating human reasoning algorithms, which makes them capable of dealing with complex and unrelated demands.

As an example of this, we can cite those solutions that you develop for problems when you are not focused on them. The famous “shower thoughts” are insights that pop into our minds when we disconnect from a situation.

Cognitive computing systems are able to generate this kind of idea in a few moments, acting creatively. They adapt their decisions as new information appears and are more flexible than Artificial Intelligence.

Why work with AI and cognitive computing simultaneously?

In the near future, companies will be able to use the two resources in an integrated way to arrive at more precise decisions. Operating with the same databases and variables, they will be able to operate smart cars, which simultaneously know where they are going and how to get there.

Within companies, they can collect data and identify those that are relevant in the decision process. Or even operate chatbots that respond to demands and also pass the Turing test (a machine’s ability to display intelligent behavior equivalent to a human being, or indistinguishable from it), being virtually identical to an interaction with a real attendant.

Combined, they will support the evolution of the process of generating insights and integrating it into automated decision making, completely free of the need for human intervention and much faster than any system we use today.

These technologies are already in use and are being enhanced to expand the range of possibilities they can offer to businesses. You have to be aware of the innovations to determine the right moment to invest. Giants like Apple and Amazon, who have been using this technology for some time, have developed their own systems and put them to use in their business models.

So, have you understood how cognitive computing and artificial intelligence can leverage your enterprise? Subscribe to our newsletter and keep learning with us!