To my knowledge, Bob Dylan has only appeared in a handful of TV commercials over the decades, including most notably a bizarre ad for Victoria’s Secret back in 2004. Now you can add another to the small list. Last night, IBM debuted a new ad with the iconic singer-songwriter. And this time around, Dylan isn’t peddling bras. Rather, it’s IBM’s cognitive system called “Watson,” which promises to analyze data for corporations in all kinds of interesting ways. Says IBM:
Humans create a staggering amount of information. Poetry, equations, films, selfies, diagnoses, discoveries. Data pours from our mobile devices, social networks, from every digitized and connected system we use. 80% of this data is virtually invisible to computers—including nearly all the information captured in language, sight and sound. Until now.
IBM Watson applies its cognitive technologies to help change how we approach and understand all of this information. Everything that is digital has the potential to become cognitive, and, in a sense, be able to “think.”
Watson can bring cognition to everything and everyone. To evolve in this data-driven culture, every business will need to become a cognitive business.
To demonstrate its analytical powers, IBM asked Watson to analyze Dylan’s lyrics, and it concluded that the major themes of Dylan’s songs are “time passes and love fades”. It’s a conclusion, I’m sure, that never dawned on casual or ardent fans of Dylan’s music.