IBM has hopes that Watson, their artificially intelligent computer system, will act as a super-efficient coworker in business meetings. The company is testing a wall-sized version of Watson, which can listen to commands when it hears its name and transcribe the entire meeting.
The business meeting version of Watson will also be able to actively participate in discussions by providing research, strategic information and is even equipped with decision-making algorithms. Meeting attendees can also ask Watson specific questions.
During the testing process, Watson was commanded, "Watson, show me companies between $15 million and $60 million in revenue relevant to that strategy." After narrowing down results, Watson replied, "I recommend eliminating Kawasaki Robotics." After being asked to explain, the AI said Kawasaki Robotics "is inferior to Cognilytics in every way."
"Watson could enhance collective intelligence by facilitating turn taking," said Dario Gil, director of symbiotic cognitive systems at IBM, adding that it could also provide "a neutral presence that can help prevent groupthink."