It was this memory that ran through my mind as I watched IBM’s Watson computer beat the pants off of the world’s two most decorated Jeopardy champions. When Watson was declared victor after three days of play, I looked at my two children and told them, “This is your moon launch.”
In my early programming career, I was obsessed with artificial intelligence and the notion that someday we may be able to teach computers how to think – and ultimately how to help us answer difficult questions. Little did I know that I was on the wrong track. Watson is not an AI machine. It is, rather, a storage, retrieval, analysis, and use system. Watson knows how to analyze terabytes of data in seconds, explore its options, weigh its confidence, and suggest a solution.
Why does this matter to FalconStor? What does this have to do with data management and protection? In a word, value.
I can tell you now, with absolute certainty, that in the near future you will be asking questions of and receiving relevant answers from a computer. Doctors will be using Watson-derived technology for diagnostic decision support. CEOs will use Watson for what-if scenarios and in-depth real-time business analytics. However, before any of this will work, Watson must have a rich data set from which to draw its knowledge. This means that the two thirds of corporate data we are not sure has any value today will have immense value in the near future.
In summary, data will become more than the lifeblood of the corporation, it will become the neural impulses that drive our everyday, well-informed, confidence-checked decisions. I personally look forward to the day when I can look at my computer and say, “Watson, just exactly how valuable is the data we are storing and protecting?” This, to me, would be nearly as exciting as stepping on to the moon.