IBM’s Jon Iwata urged attendees at the world conference of the Int’l Assn. of Business Communicators to embrace rather than fear the development and spread of artificial intelligence.

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Iwata, SVP/marketing and communications, gave the keynote address to the 1,000 full registrants plus single-day and session registrants at the Washington Hilton Hotel.

As an example of the “friendship” that can exist between humans and AI, he cited the robot RD2D that played a big role in the “Star Wars” film series.

He described “victories” of AI over humans including its defeat of a pair of “Jeopardy” winners several years ago. IBM’s “Watson” was also able to defeat chess champions.

Iwata described in detail how IBM’s supercomputer was programmed to handle the questions on Jeopardy, showing a video of company scientists at work on the programming for the show.

Human input is needed for AI to work, Iwata noted. Also described was IBM’s work at helping people to understand medical journals and the U.S. tax code. Teachers are getting help in the task of giving reading lessons to students, among many other tasks. Computers are able to work around the clock, he noted.

IBM PR said a text of Iwata's talk was not available.

The company is also promoting "Promontory," which tracks government regulations. "The amount of such regulations and pace of change is overwhelming," it says.

Iwata Heads Brand Platforms

Iwata’s bio on the IBM website says he is “the architect of its strategic brand platforms, including e-business, Smarter Planet and Watson. He is recognized for innovation – from creating Think Academy, a mobile- and cloud-delivered online university serving more than 375,000 employees--to the build-out of IBM’s global digital marketing operations.”

He reports to IBM chairman, president and CEO Ginni Rometty and is a member of the Operating Team, responsible for day-to-day marketplace execution. He is vice chairman of the IBM International Foundation.

Iwata Jon joined IBM in 1984 at its Almaden Research Center in Silicon Valley. He was appointed VP-CC in 1995 and SVP/communications, in 2002. He took his current post on July 1, 2008.