From self-driving cars to personal assistants, we’ve seen that machines can already read, write, speak, see, hear and learn. But the big question in cognitive computing is: Can they understand? For a machine to be truly intelligent, it’s not enough for it simply to know the words you’ve said. It needs to know what you want and be able to provide assistance in context.

“Almost every customer I’ve talked to this year wants a briefing on cognitive computing,” says Oliver Schabenberger, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at SAS. “You read articles that tell you we’re going to go from facial recognition to the machines taking over, but really that’s not the case.” ….