In the 1993 film "Love or money", Michael J. Fox plays concierge Doug Ireland, who applies his wealth of experience to satisfy hotel guests' finicky wishes. Instead of opting for standard solutions, he comes up with novel ideas to tackle the flood of sticky situations. This calls for the kind of learning and communication skills you’d think were beyond the grasp of your average robot. But a new age in computing has dawned - welcome to the cognitive era! At CeBIT 2017, IBM reveals what this means with spectacular exhibits such as the BMW i8 Hybrid test car equipped with intelligent assistance functions from the Watson IoT Center and star guest Connie, the concierge robot named after the Hilton's founder, Conrad Hilton.
Connie follows in the footsteps of a perennial CeBIT favorite - Watson, IBM's increasingly smart visionary prodigy, whose cognitive system enables him to understand normal language like no artificial thinker before him and interact, communicate and exchange information with humans. The technology that makes Watson so special is inside Connie’s brain, too, thus enabling him to charm guests at the Hilton with eloquent and polite conversation. It is all thanks to Watson that Connie uses every experience to enhance his skills set. Thus Watson's AI technology turns what would be a regular robot into a keenly inquisitive apprentice who takes pride in his work. So far, so good - but, if you want to debate the philosophical issues, best come to CeBIT 2017 and talk them over with IBM’s open-minded team - or, better still, with Connie himself?