She claimed AI will provide the world with a third moment of “exponential impact” to rival Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law. She claimed the data and AI “revolution” currently afoot represents a moment that occurs only once every 25 years.
“If you think back in history over the last 60 years, there have only been two times when technology has allowed businesses to improve on an exponential curve, instead of just linear”, Rometty said.
“It was once something called Moore’s Law – that chips and processing would double every 18 months. That led to the automation of everything as we know it.
“Then there was something called Metcalfe’s law. Technically, it says the value of a network is equal to the square of the nodes on the network. That is what gave rise to the platform companies, be it Facebook or Google.
“I think everyone would say those two moments in time have profoundly changed life as we know it. But I would tell you that we stand one more time at another exponential moment. Here’s the formula: think of all the data in the world, add tools like AI, and what companies and people will be able to do is have exponential learning, and if you have exponential learning it is the ultimate competitive advantage: you will outlearn other people.”
Rometty said that this new ‘law’ might one day be referred to as ‘Watson’s Law’ as she gave some examples of how IBM’s AI was being used to help companies and society “outlearn”.