I watched Jeopardy! the last couple of nights to see how Watson did against the humans. To make a computer think in abstract terms is an amazing accomplishment. My hats off to the folks at IBM.
But it isn’t just basic research in artificial intelligence that sets IBM apart. They have their fingers in lots of huge problems that could have a major impact on society. For example, Robert Scoble has an interview up at the Building 43 site by Rackspace that talks about IBM’s work on building a lithium battery that can hold enough energy to power a car 500 miles.
At a time when our federal government is cutting basic research done by the Department of Energy, DARPA, NASA and the National Science Foundation, among others, it is great to see an iconic American company picking up the slack.