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Smart MachinesIBM's Watson and the Era of Cognitive Computing$
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Steve Hamm and John Kelly

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168564

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168564.001.0001

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An Alliance of Human and Machine

(p.137) Coda
Smart Machines

John E. Kelly

Steve Hamm

Columbia University Press

This coda suggests that machine cognition and human cognition are complementary. The opportunity presented by cognitive systems is not to replicate human cognition, but to use computers to help people to reason over human-created data—communications, documents, images, and designs. In a memo to IBM managers on April 25, 1960, CEO Thomas Watson Jr. addressed head-on the issue of “thinking machines.” He wrote: “Computers will never rob man of his initiative or replace the need for his creative thinking. By freeing man from the more menial or repetitive forms of thinking, computers will actually increase the opportunities for the full use of human reason. Only human beings can think imaginatively and creatively in the fullest sense of these words.” Ultimately, the alliance of human and machine has the potential to make life on earth more sustainable.

Keywords:   machine cognition, human cognition, cognitive systems, IBM, Thomas Watson Jr, thinking machines, human-machine alliance

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