AI and Cognitive Computing, the differences
Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Computing are often used as interchangeable terms, and as much as both refer to machines with human-like capabilities, there are some big and important differences.
AI, some basic notes
AI is talked about abundantly, and equally abundant are the definitions with which we want to describe this discipline. In synthetic terms, it could be said that with AI we try to make computers able to do things that the human mind can do. Some of these, such as more or less sophisticated forms of reasoning, are normally considered as belonging to the field of intelligence, while others, for example computer vision, are not in the strict sense of the word. In each case there is the involvement of psychological skills, such as perception, association, prediction, planning, motion control, which allow humans and animals to achieve their goals, whatever they are.
AI and Cognitive Computing Approach
Among the many possible definitions of Cognitive Computing, one is particularly emblematic, if only for its generality that brings little in the way of information content: the use of computer models to simulate human mental processes in complex situations where responses may be ambiguous or uncertain. We also add that this discipline overlaps with Artificial Intelligence and implies the use of many of its basic technologies, with citation, in our opinion incorrect and in any case misleading, of expert systems, neural networks, robotics and virtual reality. It is not easy to define exactly what is meant by Cognitive Computing, even if in many texts we talk about branch of Artificial Intelligence developed to obtain cognitive processes similar to those of humans, to support work activities and decisions.
Having summarized the basic principles on which the two disciplines are based, what are the differences? The most important is probably the basic purpose: automation of processes for Artificial Intelligence, increase of human capabilities for Cognitive Computing, and after all the term “cognitive computing” is typically used to describe AI systems aimed at simulating human thought. With a different interpretation, we can say that these systems are used to assist humans in their decision-making process, which means absence of decision-making responsibility or, if you prefer, Cognitive Computing does not make decisions by providing rather additional information that allow humans to make the most appropriate decisions, unlike Artificial Intelligence that instead makes decisions on its own, minimizing the role of humans.
We could also say that Cognitive Computing “tries” to replicate the way a human would solve a problem, unlike Artificial Intelligence that, always to solve a problem, pursues the identification of new ways that can potentially be better than those that a human would have chosen, and this without imitation of human reasoning, but relying on the best possible algorithm.