Cognition is what transforms and defines our era from all the previous ones. What is happening now has been tagged as the 4th Industrial Revolution.
There is nothing Industrial about it, while using the Industrial adjective limits severely the understanding and the potential of this new level of societal evolution.
As Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM pointed out recently:
The world, Rometty said, is at a moment of transformation that she dubbed the cognitive era. “We can reinvent many pieces and we can change things, whether it’s personalized medicine, epidemiology, wherever we go, it’s a moment”, she said, “I think it’s within our power that we can change the world for the better.”
The cognitive era is not limited to Health. Health is simply the first welcome step of what is going to radically change Society.
Cognition and related cognitive technologies are the Great Leap Forward for Society as a whole, equally or more important to the Industrial Revolution of the 19th Century.
Human work in Business, and not only, is directly linked with technology, at the same time the nature of Business is transforming, so as to make the role of machine assisted human cognition decisive.
The Industrial Revolution changed Society completely, with its first impact being through Business. The same is happening now with the Cognitive Revolution.
This is not about the Internet, Digitalization, Healthcare, IoT, Cloud or even AI and bots. All those are manifestations of the new period of Mankind, the enhanced new Cognitive period.
Limiting the present article only to the Business applications of the Cognitive Revolution, we find that all the traditional imperatives for conducting Business are still valid.
Businesses must redefine their Business Model using the new Cognitive Technologies to survive and prosper. Profitability, market share, competitive position through better customer understanding, cost cutting and innovation are still the same performance targets, but their achievement depends on the ability of a Company to incorporate the new Cognitive approach in its Business process.
The principal continuous requirement of any Business is Decision making.
Decision making is based on two main pillars:
Any decision, that is not unavoidably imposed, is a step into the unknown.
Executives tend to base more and more their decisions upon data and less on gut feeling, so as to avoid bias.
Bias however, is always, although imperceptibly, present and decisions based only on data, tend to ignore the fact that all Business is addressed to a Customer and Customers are humans.
The displeasure of Customers that are obliged to interface with a bot, as well as, their frustration for the time lost in addition to their unsatisfied demands, is well documented. The Customer always needs to come first; and Customers are humans who like dealing with other humans.
Empathy is a business requirement. This underlines the need for a human-machine combination.
The continuous interaction of human and machine leads to higher levels of understanding and business experience. Instinct is reintroduced in the decision-making process, but this time instinct is the distillate that comes from the mastering of the new decision-making human-machine combination.
This way, prediction, which is the key to successful decision making, is faster and easier to correctly achieve.
Hybrid human – machine interaction
This is where the Cognitive technology comes in, to bridge the gap, by forming the new hybrid decision making system, combining the best from both human and machine.
Digital and the management of the tsunami of data are only the beginning of the new transformation.
The new cognitive computing technologies are not there to make thinking easier. Talent for this is always a prerequisite. They are to be used for a deeper understanding of the issues involved in a decision and substantiate better a choice.
This is the new form of Business literacy, which is the dominant component in a cognitive system. Humans interact with cognitive machines in real time as situations evolve and reshape.
This combination will dominate in the Business Models, that have already started taking shape in embryo form, with decision intelligence injected in all Business processes and products, based on multi-channel interaction with digitally sophisticated Customers.
Cognitive Business is the real transformation taking place in the Business area, based on the fusion of human and machine intelligence, continuously improving data management and analytics.
Cognitive Business are characterized by the introduction of increased Cognitive capabilities into Humans, Processes and Business Procedures, augmenting intelligence in decision making.
Business must adapt with the complexity of the emerging socio-technical environment in order to stay relevant to the new Cognitive era.