Accenture CTO Looking Into The Future: Cognitive Software That Learns And Adapts Is Next Big Thing

The next radical technology breakthrough that will change how business is done is cognitive software that learns and adapts in a big-data-driven world, said Accenture CTO Paul Daugherty in an interview with CRN.

"Artificial Intelligence and cognitive-computing solutions will be coming into the mainstream from a business perspective, and change the way we solve business problems," said Daugherty, who oversees innovation in the $30 billion behemoth's technology labs.

Accenture has been working with multiple companies on applying some of the early cognitive technology toward business problems, said Daugherty.

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Accenture itself is even looking at how it can use the technology to better serve customers. "It is important at Accenture because we have a lot of people that understand industry business processes and technology, and combining cognitive technologies along with it, you can really accelerate the people who deliver business solutions for our clients," said Daugherty.

Daugherty cautioned that while cognitive technology has not hit the market in a "big way yet," it is moving more and more into the "mainstream."

Software, both on-premise and SaaS, he said, has been, by and large, written the same way for years. However, with the advent of cognitive computing, programmers will soon be able to write software that is able to "learn from itself and adapt to change all on its own."

Cognitive computing comprises different computing systems that do not follow sequential programming protocol, but instead are able to better utilize data mining, pattern recognition and language processing in order to solve problems without human support.

The most famous example of a cognitive-computing system is IBM's Watson program that competed on "Jeopardy" in 2011. Since that time, R&D departments throughout the world have improved on the system and have been working on taking the technology from performing on a game show to applying it in the workplace.

Cognitive-computing programs for health care, education and business have already become a reality. However, the technology has yet to become a household word.

By pairing this type of computing software with skilled, knowledgeable people, Daugherty added, breakthroughs for Accenture and other solution providers will happen at a faster rate than ever before. "We expect this to be game-changing when you see cognitive technology hitting the market," he said. "You can really accelerate the people who deliver business solutions to our clients."