IBM Watson Hosts Workshop for Startups and Nashville Software School Students

Ally Schneider is a modern day ambassador between humanity and technology, and - with the help of cognitive system IBM Watson, she’s working to bridge the gap between intelligences artificial and non.

Recently, IBM Watson visited the EC to speak with various startups in our community like IQuity Labs and EvidenceCare, and also hosted the Nashville Software School that included building a facial recognition app during the 201 developer workshop.

Schneider and her ecosystem team travel around the country to teach others about the innovative future of artificial intelligence and the uses and features of IBM Watson.

The IBM Watson team spoke to NSS on the usefulness of the Watson’s application program interfaces, service additions that allow external developers to build tools and content using Watson, too.

As just one example, entrepreneurial ventures can employ the personality and sights and tones analyzer, Schneider said, which look at people’s written word choices and create a personality or tone based on the writing.

“When you think about cognitive computing and Watson, there’s such a unique value to being able to understand unstructured data,” Schneider said. “Because a lot of the devices and systems as we know them today, they are really good at structured data: They like data that’s in nice, neat, pretty rows and columns. But what’s interesting is that 80 percent of the world’s data is actually unstructured.”

Unstructured data - PDFs, blog posts, social media - is the text-based content generated by humans that devices and systems can have problems with, Scheider said. But it’s Watson and IBM Watson’s mission to understand like we do, collecting data and then applying that data by answering simple questions.

Which doesn’t come without its opposition.

For many people living in a world where artificial intelligence is rumored to someday take over daily activities and jobs, more advanced technology can be a bit unsettling, Schneider said. However, artificial intelligence is more than that: It’s a productive cooperation between people and technology, putting information into people's’ hands to improve their lives.

“It’s really a partnership, in terms of the person working with the system, training the system to understand this content in a more meaningful way,” Schneider said.

For more information on IBM Watson and available APIs, visit online at, or follow along on Twitter @ibmwatson