What is Cognitive Computing and How Does it Work?

Cognitive Computing is one of the hottest buzzwords in tech currently. Experts regard cognitive computing as a factor of production that can open up new opportunities for growth and transform the way work is performed in various industries. This article details what cognitive computing is and helps you understand its attributes, how it works, and more.

AI is at the forefront of the new computing era, Cognitive Computing. It is a totally new sort of computing, unlike the programmed systems that came before it, similar to how those systems differed from tabulating machines a century ago. However, because of today’s big data and the need for complicated evidence-based decisions, traditional systems frequently fail or are unable to keep up with the information. 

Cognitive computing enables humans to create a fundamentally new type of value by allowing them to find answers and insights locked in massive amounts of data. This article will teach you everything about cognitive computing, its advantages, and more.

What is Cognitive Computing? - Table of Contents

What is Cognitive Computing?

The term "cognitive computing" refers to technology platforms that simulate human thought processes under the guidance of cognitive science. Artificial intelligence and signal processing are included in this area. This may involve attributes like artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing (NLP), audio and image recognition, human-computer interface (HCI), and more.

If you want to enrich your career and become a professional in Cognitive Computing, then enroll in the "Artificial Intelligence Certification Course". This course will help you to achieve excellence in this domain.

How does Cognitive Computing Work?

Cognitive computing has made it possible for computers to replicate how the human brain works. Self-learning algorithms based on data mining and pattern recognition are used by cognitive computing to identify solutions to a wide range of problems. But according to the Cognitive Computing Consortium, these tasks require adaptive, interactive, iterative, stateful, and contextual cognitive computing systems. All of these elements must be present for a system to be cognitively computing.

key attributes of Cognitive Computing

1. Adaptive

In order to achieve a shifting set of objectives, cognitive systems must be able to handle an input of information and data that is changing quickly. The platforms respond in real-time to changing data requirements and environmental conditions by processing dynamic data.

2. Interactive

Cognitive machines require human-computer interaction (HCI), which is a crucial component. Users engage with cognitive processes and set the parameters even as the parameters vary. The technology communicates with various hardware, CPUs, and cloud computing platforms.

3. Iterative and Stateful

In the event that a preset query is insufficient or ambiguous, cognitive computing systems identify issues by presenting questions or requesting additional information. The technology enables this by keeping records of relevant circumstances and future events.

4. Contextual

Contextual information such as time, syntax, domain, location, requirements, or a specific user's tasks, profile, or goals must be recognized, understood, and mined by cognitive computing systems. They may use a variety of information sources, such as sensor, auditory, visual, or visual data, along with structured or unstructured data.

Cognitive Computing

Examples and Applications of Cognitive Computing

Systems for cognitive computing are frequently employed to complete tasks that call for the analysis of enormous volumes of data. For instance, cognitive computing in computer science helps with large data analytics, seeing trends and patterns, comprehending human language, and connecting with clients.

The following are some instances of how Cognitive Computing is utilized across many sectors.

1. Retail

These technologies examine both the customer's basic characteristics and the specifics of the goods they are considering in retail settings. The system then offers the customer customized recommendations.

2. Logistics

IoT devices, networking, and warehouse management are all made easier by cognitive computing.

3. Banking and Finance

In the banking and finance sector, cognitive computing analyses unstructured data from many sources to learn more about consumers. Chatbots that interact with customers are made using NLP. Customer engagement and operational effectiveness both increase as a result.

4. HealthCare

To provide advice to medical professionals, cognitive computing can handle huge volumes of unstructured healthcare data, including patient histories, diagnoses, ailments, and journal research articles. This is done to assist physicians in choosing the best course of treatment. A doctor's powers are increased by cognitive technology, which also aids in decision-making.

A prime example of a cognitive computing system is IBM's Watson for Oncology. It offers cancer patients' oncologists at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York evidence-based therapy alternatives. Watson creates a list of hypotheses and presents therapy alternatives for clinicians to evaluate in response to inquiries entered by medical professionals. Another IBM technology that aids clients in medical and clinical research is Watson Health.

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What Value does Cognitive Computing Provide?

The ability of cognitive computing to extract usable information from complex data is a useful quality. In order to remain competitive, practically every organization must deal with an expanding volume of data, making BI solutions like Sisense more crucial than ever. These platforms make use of cognitive computing techniques to generate data analyses that are simpler for non-technical staff to understand. The tools from Sisense use natural language processing (NLP) capabilities to convey insights in conversational language. This minimizes unintentional misunderstandings and gives everyone access to an unbiased study of the data's facts.

Advantages of Cognitive Computing

Positive outcomes in the following domains are among cognitive computing's benefits:

  • Analytical accuracy: Structured and unstructured data can be compared and cross-referenced effectively with cognitive computing.
  • Business Process Efficiency: Cognitive technologies can spot patterns when examining massive data sets.
  • Customer Experience and Interaction: Customer interactions are improved by the contextual and pertinent information that cognitive computing gives to users through tools like chatbots. The client experience is improved by combining cognitive assistants, personalized recommendations, and behavioral predictions.
  • Employee Service Quality and Productivity: Employees can examine both unstructured and structured data using cognitive technologies to spot trends and patterns.

Employee Service Quality and Productivity

Disadvantages of Cognitive Computing

Negative aspects of cognitive technology include the following:

Disadvantages of cognitive systems

  • Security Challenges: Large volumes of data are required for cognitive systems to learn from. Organizations employing the systems must preserve the data properly, especially if it pertains to customers' health or other types of personal information.
  • Long Development Cycle Length: Software development for these systems needs experienced development teams and takes a lot of time. For the systems to comprehend certain jobs and procedures, they require substantial and in-depth training using massive data sets.
  • Slow Adoption: The lengthy development lifecycle contributes to poor adoption rates. Smaller businesses may find it more challenging to integrate cognitive systems and steer clear of them as a result.
  • Negative Environmental Impact: Neural networks and training cognitive systems uses a lot of energy and produce a lot of carbon dioxide.

Cognitive Computing vs AI

We could also say that Cognitive Computing "tries" to solve problems in the same way that a human would, in contrast to Artificial Intelligence, which always seeks to find new solutions to problems that may be superior to those that a human would have chosen, and does so without imitating human reasoning but rather by using the best algorithm.

Although the terms cognitive computing and artificial intelligence are sometimes used interchangeably, there are several key differences between the two.

Artificial IntelligenceCognitive Computing
Without using any human input, AI algorithms produce the most accurate results.Based on using thinking, logic, and opinion from humans as input to produce output
AI is independent.It depends on cognitive
The machine is a self-aware agent. It performs the functions of the human brain.A machine acts as an agent for a human's aim or business operation. It is merely a tool for information.
It depicts reality.It mimics how people act.
The algorithm used to deliver results and judgments is created by AI itself.It just produces the information, leaving human interpretation of the final product to humans.
Makes use of trained algorithmsUses analysis and prediction as fundamental techniques.
A few industries that use AI are manufacturing security, retail, and finance.Improves procedures in a variety of fields, including industries, client relations, and health care
AI's role is to facilitate our work.Cognitive comes into play if we make complicated human-like decisions.
Speech recognition, NLP, video analytics, image processing, and chatbots are technologies AI is used.Facial recognition, sentiment analysis,  risk assessment, fraud detection, and other cognitive tasks used. 

The ability of machines to respond, adapt, and reason based on experience it has learned underlies the similarities between the two. They have different techniques to deal with people but comparable intentions. Both of these technologies are in a stage of development where they will advance quickly. Cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are both supported by machine learning, deep learning, and neural networks.

Future of Cognitive Computing

The potential uses of cognitive computing are limitless. Both internal and external software troubleshooting can be facilitated with the use of the technology. As more companies invest in its development and as more individuals utilize it in their daily lives, we will see greater technological improvements. Therefore, it is clear that cognitive computing is here to stay.


Undoubtedly, cognitive computing will fundamentally change the world in the coming years. Organizations are adopting cognitive computing and budgeting for certified professionals in the field. As this field expands, it will impact daily life and have considerable implications for many other industries.

To become a pro in the field, check out our interactive, live-online MindMajix’s AI Certification Courses, which come with 24*7 support to help you throughout the learning period.

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Last updated: 05 Apr 2023
About Author


Madhuri is a Senior Content Creator at MindMajix. She has written about a range of different topics on various technologies, which include, Splunk, Tensorflow, Selenium, and CEH. She spends most of her time researching on technology, and startups. Connect with her via LinkedIn and Twitter .

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