New research from Deloitte Consulting explores the new tech trend: cognitive analytics, an emerging breed of powerful analytics that transcends the limitations of traditional data management and analysis.

In their Wall Street Journal article, “Human Brain Inspires New Cognitive AnalyticsRajeev Ronanki and David Steier explain how cognitive analytics is “inspired by how the human brain processes information, draws conclusions, and codifies instincts and experience into learning.”

In the full report on the trend, Deloitte analysts write: “Instead of depending on predefined rules and structured queries to uncover answers, cognitive analytics relies on technology systems to generate hypotheses, drawing from a wide variety of potentially relevant information and connections. Possible answers are expressed as recommendations, along with the system’s self-assessed ranking of how confident it is in the accuracy of the response. Unlike in traditional analysis, the more data fed to a machine learning system, the more it can learn, resulting in higher-quality insights.”


In academia, these techniques have been applied to the study of reading, learning, and language development. The Boltzmann machine and the Never-Ending Language Learning (NELL) projects are popular examples. In the consumer world, pieces of cognitive analytics form the core of artificial personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri® voice recognition software3 and the Google Now service, as well as the backbone for the Xbox® video game system’s verbal command interface in Kinect®.

Bottom line: Cognitive analytics will enable machines to learn, draw conclusions, and identify obscure associations in real time from big data.

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