“Cogs” can be thought of as a new species of intelligent agents (“smart machines“) that can learn and communicate with us, and know a person and a person’s history very well. For example, already doctors are starting to recommend healthcare apps to patience, and perhaps soon they will prescribe apps, and insurers will pay. However, “Cogs” will have capabilities far beyond simple apps.
Perhaps like our pets, Cogs know us; but unlike pets, Cogs process natural language and do pattern recognition as smart machines – with capabilities that are on a tremendous improvement trajectory, driven in part by Moore’s Law. Cogs will be one of the key innovations in the era of cognitive computing, or what some have called The Second Machine Age.
The IBM Watson Group is building APIs that will be available in the IBM Cloud (SoftLayer) — and people will be able to build personal Cogs as well as professional Cogs for various applications (each job type or professional will have a GenericCog, that can be customized to know a specific person in a job role).
For example, imagine a ChefCog, it already exists, helping chefs create and prepare amazing new recipes. If a chef has some unique style, then a ChefCog would adapt and help that person be more creative and productive. Or like free-style chess, imagine teams of chefs and their ChefCogs all working together to advance the culinary arts.
One can also imagine DoctorCogs, MedicalEducatorCogs, CustomerServiceCogs, and SalesCogs, all helping people be more creative and productive – and like the ChefCog, early versions of all these types of Cogs already exist.
So you may have a Cog that knows you holistically, and then a separate Cog for each of your roles in life (e.g., various service systems – at home, at work, at school, at the hospital, etc.).
Technically, the set of Cognitive Systems includes entities such as people, pets, and Cogs…. but also larger entities, such as companies that know you and communicate with you and can learn about you like Facebook, Google, etc. as well as nations, states, cities that know you as a citizen and provide service offerings customized to your needs. Any entity that stores information about you and builds up a profile that helps the entity interact with you naturally to co-create value and co-elevate capabilities can be viewed as a type of Cog.
So Cogs are somewhat like a new species, without rights or responsibilities (so not a formal service system entity yet), but definitely with capabilities and constraints.
The relationship: All service system entities are cognitive system entities, but not all cognitive system entities are service system entities. The set of Cogs is a subset of the set of Cognitive Systems, but until Cogs have rights and responsibilities – they are disjoint from the set of Service Systems.