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IBM VP discusses future of computers

| Sunday, March 23, 2014

John Gordon, vice president of marketing and strategy at IBM’s Watson Solutions Divisions said the question at IBM right now is: how do we start applying technology to solve problems, creating something meaningful that would have an impact on people’s lives?
Gordon spoke Friday in Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College of Business as part of a one-credit course called “Notre Dame Ten Years Hence Speaker Series: The Future of Energy” that brings speakers to campus who will explore issues, ideas and trends likely to affect society in the next decade. Gordon’s is the fourth lecture in the series.
Gordon is a graduate of Notre Dame in philosophy and computer science who has been working in the technology world since receiving his MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
In his speech, Gordon discussed the future of computer systems and software — how it is changing and how it is expected to change over the next decade.
“With the help of 400,000 employees, we focus on innovation that matters to us and the world”, Gordon said.
He said their goal is to push the world forward and show dedication to every client’s success.
“IBM is unique in that we have a sense of trust and personal responsibility in all relationships, which greatly helps us develop professional relationships and push past problems,” Gordon said.
Gordon said the world is at the initial cusp of a new era of computing: the cognitive area of computing, which will have profound effects on the opportunities available for people and businesses.
“Instead of building machines to do what we want, we want to build machines that we can tell what to do.” Gordon said.
He said the goal of IBM is to create a system that learns and grows by experience.
“We want to create a system that augments human cognition — systems that don’t just give output but explain it,” Gordon said.
He said this system would encompass a whole new system of reasoning that can help us figure out what is out there.  Gordon said it would be able to evaluate all possible responses in hundreds of thousands of ways, and as it grows in experience, it will learn and become more precise.
“These systems could lead to breakthroughs in many different areas — medicine, environmental issues, etcetera,” Gordon said. “As the entire spectrum grows, the industry will grow and will continue to inspire us in different ways.”

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