Weighing the Benefits and Challenges of Cognitive Adoption
The data mountain is growing at an unimaginable rate, and making sense of it requires a lot of effort and patience. Unorganized information, or dark data, is difficult to interpret, which results in valuable information passing right by marketers unnoticed and unused.
Cognitive technology can help make sense of this data, better align it to business goals and dig deeper to determine actionable insights. If sufficiently widespread, cognitive adoption can optimize resources in various areas such as health, security, education and transport.
With increasing urbanization, the ability to continuously improve quality of life by integrating old and new ways of living has become essential. Many countries in Asia-Pacific are already taking the lead by using the power of social, mobile and cloud technologies with their current infrastructure.
Solving Day-to-Day Issues With Cognitive Technology
With its ability to generate deep insights and optimize information using machine learning, cognitive computing can simplify and enhance our daily lives in countless ways. Below are some of the most important areas that could benefit greatly from an infusion of cognitive technology.
Most of our cities grew at an exponential rate with the rapid development we have been chasing. This has resulted in severe traffic issues due to congestion on roads, especially during working hours.
Cognitive technology can help rescue of commuters by making sense of data from traffic cameras, map the busiest locations and reroute traffic automatically. Controlling traffic lights to optimize sequences at busy intersections and finding a suitable parking spot based on one’s preference, location and time of day are just two examples of what could be done. Soon enough, cognitive computing might also help manage traffic by analyzing social and consumer behaviors.
The basic infrastructure of a city, including water systems, roads, drainage, etc., often needs to be monitored to ensure that they do not interfere with citizens’ daily lives. Consider the case of aging water systems. More leakage could result in an insufficient supply or increased risk of contaminated water. With a smarter city plan, analytics could help officials decide what, when, where and how to work on such aging infrastructure before it affects too many people.
Managing infrastructure could also get more engaging with a demand-side management approach whereby city utilities send consumption data to citizens. A better-informed citizen will be more likely to reduce or shift their water usage. In fact, one great example of smart management of infrastructure is Singapore, which successfully developed a highly advanced water system to convert sewage water to potable drinking water.
Improving Health Care
Rapid digitization has taken health care to a totally different level. Today, physicians can access patient records remotely and patients can consult with the best doctors in the world, regardless of location. Furthermore, cognitive technology enables people to easily monitor their loved ones’ health from a distance and receive real-time updates.
In centers such as Manipal Hospital in India, doctors are already using cognitive technology to help them make faster and more informed diagnoses. With technology simplifying the paperwork, doctors can spend more quality time interacting with and attending to patients. Organizations such as Five9 are working on tapping into social media analytics to understand consumers’ lifestyles better and offer more personalized health offerings in the future.
Barriers to Cognitive Adoption
Technology is always prone to threats if it is not managed well. Although they hold the potential to improve quality of life across the globe, new technologies often meet resistance due to fear of change. The listed reasons below are a few of the bigger roadblocks standing in the way of widespread cognitive adoption.
With smarter cities built on a foundation of connected devices, defending the infrastructure is critical. A strong infrastructure security strategy must include:
- Encryption of sensitive data;
- Mechanisms for regularly scanning suspicious activity; and
- Strong and frequently changing passwords.
With threat actors working more collaboratively than ever, the current challenge of security professionals is to stay ahead of the cybercrime curve. In the case of smart cities, it is essential to have a backup plan to manually override any failure in the system due to a security breach.
Adoption of New Technology
For any system to be effective and successful, collaboration between governments, individuals and private organizations is critical. Equally important is a clear vision of what and how the adoption of new technology could benefit stakeholders. An even stronger regulatory framework on data privacy and security could encourage more people to adopt the system wholeheartedly and embrace the change for good.
The most pertinent obstacle to the adoption of any new technology is fear of the future. Cognitive technology, with its promise to automate and learn like humans, has engendered concern about machines replacing humans. But on the contrary, cognitive technology cannot work without the support of human intelligence. Humans feed intelligence into the system, which enables it to learn and assist humans. In this way, cognitive technology is an infinite loop of human-machine interaction.
The sooner we recognize the potential benefits of cognitive technology, and the sooner we retool our environments and upskill staff to operate these systems, the brighter our future will be.