By: Nicole Buczynski
Recently Arthur L. Johnson High School was fortunate enough to meet a new kind of visitor from the well-known International Business Machine company, also known as IBM. Philip Guido, a Clark native and Arthur L. Johnson alum, is the General Manager for IBM Global Technology Services for North America. His responsibilities include strategy, execution, business results and client satisfaction for the full range of IBM's Global Technology Services business.
Mr. Guido brought a duplicate of one of IBM’s most prestigious creations, Watson, and state of the art robot named “Pepper.” Pepper, like Watson, is a supercomputer that combines artificial intelligence and analytical software for performance as a “question answering” machine.
Mr. Guido began his presentation with the story of his life and his experiences, both personally and at IBM. He then introduced Pepper. Pepper was rolled out onto stage and the crowd woke it up by clapping and cheering. Phillip Guido then had volunteers from the student- filled crowd ask Pepper some questions he had prepared, such as, “Who is Arthur L. Johnson named after?” and “Who’s the smartest person in the room?” Of course Pepper was correct, answering Mr. Delmonaco. Mr. Guido then called out Pepper’s little brother who performed Tai Chi for the audience alongside ALJ’s own Mr. Silber. Phillip Guido concluded his presentation with some wise words he had for ALJ’s students, saying, “Life is quite a ride, enjoy it.”
According to Mr. Guido, artificial intelligence machines like Pepper and Watson are extremely helpful in today’s society, helping in the medical, business and technology fields. Watson can understand all forms of data, interact naturally with people, and learn and reason, at scale. In 2011, in order to prove its abilities, Watson challenged two top-ranked players on Jeopardy! and beat champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Like the other contestants, Watson had no Internet access. Currently, Watson is working alongside people in 45 countries and 20 industries to help businesses work faster and smarter. In the near future, Watson will help people with health and well-being in labs and hospitals, working towards things such as a cure for cancer. Watson can also read eight million pages per second and understand multiple languages. Mr. Guido and others at IBM predict that there will be an artificial intelligence machine like Watson and Pepper in every home within a short time.
According to IBM, "The goal is to have computers start to interact in natural human terms across a range of applications and processes, understanding the questions that humans ask and providing answers that humans can understand and justify." The company also intends to use Watson in other information-intensive fields, such as telecommunications, financial services, and government. Machines like Watson and Pepper are things we humans have seen as only a mere imagination in our minds, and now it is beginning to come true. With the help of artificial intelligence machines we humans can truly improve and positively change the world for good.