Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Video: An IBM Film About Chocolate and Babies and Ducks

As part of its 100th anniversary observance, IBM has produced a handful of videos meant to bring to life the usually complicated message that results from explaining the work it does. The first was this fascinating clip it released in February, encapsulating its century of corporate history in 13 minutes.

The film below lasts about 15 minutes and tells some of the stories that IBM Fellow Bernie Meyerson discussed in my conversation with him from earlier today. For one, you’ll meet Dr. Carolyn McGregor, who led IBM’s efforts to bring to bear the field data analytics to help treat premature infants in Toronto. This is, of course, a story that IBM has been telling for the better part of three years, but it’s one that for me never gets old. Who doesn’t like heart-warming stories about babies saved from preventable infections?

And who doesn’t like chocolate? Did you know that IBM saved the world’s chocolate supply? Well, I exaggerate there, but only a little. And while it’s another story that IBM has been telling for a few years, it only gets more interesting with time, especially after you meet Howard-Yana Shapiro, the global director of plant science for chocolate giant Mars, who a few years back committed that company to buying cocoa beans from suppliers who grow their crop sustainably. But first there was the problem of fighting off a virus that was destroying the world’s cocoa supplies, which first required sequencing the genome of the cacao tree from which cocoa comes. That’s where IBM came in.

Also there’s some stuff on Sunil Mitall, the Indian billionaire whose Bharti Group sells mobile phones in India, the growth of Dubai and a wild duck who got too fat to fly. That last item is linked to a saying of founding President Thomas J. Watson that goes like this: “You can make wild ducks tame, but you can never make a tame duck wild again.” What does that have to do with computing? Watch and find out.

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