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Deloitte at IBM Cognifest

By Kaushala Ratnayake, Consultant in the Human Capital Practice

Cognifest is an annual Hackathon run by IBM. It has an ambitious goal of the solving big challenges using IBM’s artificial intelligence tool, Watson.  Cognifest is run over two full days where attendees get to play with artificial intelligence (AI) tools.  This year’s focus was on developing creative ways to tackle real world problems.

The beauty of AI is the broad spectrum of applications which were in no shortage at the hackathon. We saw solutions for New Zealand's social and business issues to the pain points of the modern global traveller.  

The hackathon began with a full introduction to Watson and it’s range of APIs (the interface between software applications), covering the tools and how they work. We then dived into teams to build our own solution for a selected issue. 

Our team was a mixture of Deloitte Technology, Digital and Human Capital consultants. This allowed us to bring in perspectives from customers, technical feasibility, as well as a future of work lens. Together, using natural language generation, personality insights and tone analysis, we used our broad expertise to build a prototype for an artificial travel agent named Wat’s On? 

Wat’s On? automatically aggregated travel information from multiple sources and dynamically generated a tailored review for the user. Our goal was to ensure the review was consolidated, trusted and personalised. 

At Deloitte we are educating our clients on the applications and opportunities of automation technologies including AI. The hackathon was a great way to deep dive into what happens in the background when building AI solutions, further empowering our client conversations further in this exciting space!

Mike Millard, Director in the Digital Practice and Chris Boggs, Director in the Human Capital Practice are the creators of Deloitte New Zealand’s Automation Lab. Together they bring combined expertise in automation technology, digital experience design and the future of work. 

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