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Crowdsourcing gets street cred with cognitive computing software

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The much-hyped cognitive computing has spawned research projects and Watson. But today, it's having an impact in the enterprise with crowdsourcing.

Two technology trends are disrupting their markets and working together to create new models: crowdsourcing and cognitive computing software. Together, these trends are bringing new kinds of knowledge and expertise to the fore.

Just a few years ago even, cognitive computing software was still so much in the hype phase that they had little prospect yet of improving workflows or processes in the enterprise. But today, crowdsourcing and cognitive computing are helping improve formerly manual, tedious, and error-prone processes when humans preside over them. Other important technology trends, like the move to cloud computing, have set the stage for cognitive computing to become enterprise-ready.

Crowdsourcing enables companies to generate ideas through the power of the crowd. Crowdsourcing relies on the principle that many brains are better than one and, when brought together, can innovate or problem-solve far more effectively than when people work and brainstorm on their own. Crowdsourcing has been immensely successful in generating new product ideas and in helping medical researchers identify cures for conditions. It's also been successful in helping retail customers get issues addressed in community forums.

"By sharing information in a flexible but purposeful manner, people can find answers to questions and solutions to problems," says Geoffrey Bock, principal at Bock and Company, in this podcast on cognitive computing and crowdsourcing.

But the power of the crowd can also be inefficient, subject to inaccuracy or outdated information or, worse, problems like fraud and plagiarism. That's where cognitive computing comes in. Cognitive computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have been combined with approaches like crowdsourcing to help companies identify fraudulent content in, say, a vacation review or to easily summarize several paragraphs into a couple of sentences without enlisting humans. AI and other tools are often enlisted to tag and categorize content so that it is more easily searchable on a website or more easily scanned by search engine bots.

Bock, a contributor to SearchContentManagement, discusses the merger of cognitive computing software and crowdsourcing trends and their power to disrupt their respective markets.

"There is no question in my mind that the two sides are coming together," Bock predicts. "We are living in an era with an explosion of content. What we need are better and better filters, and a lot of those filters will be driven by smart bots or smart machines."

For more, check out the podcast above.

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