May The Force be energy efficient

March 10, 2011
By Elisa Wood March 9, 2011 It was hard to get excited about IBM’s Watson besting two humans in the TV game show Jeopardy and walking away with a $1 million prize last month. After all, thanks to the entertainment industry, we’ve seen robots and computers win in all kinds of ways, from HAL duping […]
By Elisa Wood

March 9, 2011

It was hard to get excited about IBM’s Watson besting two humans in the TV game show Jeopardy and walking away with a $1 million prize last month. After all, thanks to the entertainment industry, we’ve seen robots and computers win in all kinds of ways, from HAL duping the smart astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey to R2D2 disabling the Death Star. What’s the big deal about racking up some trivia points?

Stay tuned because Watson’s got bigger plans. This computer system understands natural language and can use that ability to solve problems and answer questions precisely. As IBM tells it, Watson can use this ability to bring us beyond smart grid into genius grid.

If you’re an energy company looking to hire something that appears to be a Google/C3P0 hybrid, consider Watson’s curriculum vitae. IBM says that Watson can:

  • Assist energy personnel working in the field and educate consumers about their energy use – a distribution line worker and marketing specialists all in one.
  • Help with decision-making in energy control rooms. Watson where were you in August 2003?
  • Be on standby via cell phone (no lunch breaks) to answer queries from field personnel who need help with troubleshooting. Watson can suggest the correct action to fix a power disruption and identify causes of certain problems in the field.

At a more personal level, Watson can teach humans about their energy consumption, according to IBM.  Watson’s a quick study and can assimilate energy best practice databases. Consumers might query Watson on how to improve their energy management. Watson would answer by drawing on deep knowledge of smart meter data, weather and historical information.

Watson, it appears, may put our robot heroes from Star Wars and 2001 to shame. I’ve always wondered how much energy The Force used, especially when the Jedi were all using their lightsabers at once. Maybe Watson can offer them a little advice on peak shaving.

This blog is open source & copyright free with attribution to www.realenergywriters.com.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

Twitter: @ElisaWood

LinkedIn: Elisa Wood

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