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I spent half an hour speaking with IBM Watson VP John Gordon on Tuesday, and no matter how many ways I asked it, he would not acknowledge a gap between peoples’ perceptions of Watson and what the « cognitive computing » system is actually capable of doing. I know there’s misunderstanding out there — I just know it — but Gordon spun his responses to focus on inspiration rather than disappointment, about how easy it is to learn Watson and build new applications now that it’s available as a set of software products and cloud APIs.

It annoyed me at first, but the more I think about it, the less I can fault his strategy. It wasn’t so long ago, he noted, that it was still only Ph.Ds. in IBM Research programming Watson systems for early users; today, pretty much anybody with an application and some data can start experimenting with it. There’s not a lot…

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