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E R G O | Journal of Organizational Storytelling

Volume 2 . Issue 1 . 2017ERGO Volume 2 Issue 1

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The Cognitive Issue

What, you ask, is cognitive computing? I think it’s a lot like dowsing.

So, you ask, what in the world is dowsing?

The practice of dowsing is a folkway traditionally used to find water underground with a ‘divining rod’ of some sort. I first learned about it because my grandmother was a dowser.  She would wield the forked limb of a peach tree to find water underground . Friends and family back in Indiana would contact Lena Bonifer when they wanted to dig a well that tapped into an underground spring or aquifer.

I have since learned that dowsing, like alchemy, is about more than the thing it’s  most-known-for. Alchemy, in Jungian terms, is about turning the ‘lead’ of a situation into the ‘gold’ of opportunity. Dowsing, in its broadest sense, is about finding what might otherwise be hidden or un-seeable.

That, for me, is cognitive computing in a nutshell. Algorithms are its ‘divining rods,’ and relationships in data are its ‘underground water. ‘   

This issue of ERGO will give you a glimpse into how three companies—Nara Logics, Wipro and IBM—use cognitive computing , a.k.a. artificial intelligence (AI), to find relationships in data that would otherwise be hidden or un-seeable.

Nara Logics, based in Boston, is a start-up that is revolutionizing how companies like their client, Emirates Air, use AI to improve business operations and customer experiences. Our director of strategy, Patrick Jong Taylor, interviewed their CEO, Jana Eggers, about her vision for AI, and the pitfalls that can get in its way.

Wipro is an IT consulting and tech company with Indian roots that has grown 25X in the past 15 years. They have clients on six continents, 174,000+ employees, and generate $7.7 billion in annual revenue. They are in the business of using technology to re-invent how business gets done. We re-print an article from their company magazine, WOOL, about how brands can use cognitive computing in their marketing.

IBM is, you know, IBM. Big Blue. The company that let Gates and Allen get away with Microsoft, and survived that Big Blow to re-invent itself as an adaptive integrator of tech products and services. My partner in bigSTORY, Jeremi Karnell, looks at how their Watson AI platform yields different kinds of organizational storytelling.

It adds up to a fascinating set of insights for an aspect of tech that will change how organizations tell stories by ‘dowsing’ for data. Grandma would be proud.

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