The days of IBM’s Watson supercomputer being satisfied with being a Jeopardy champion are over. IBM announced on Thursday that it is creating a cloud-based open platform for Watson that it hopes will “enable a worldwide community of software application providers to build a new generation of apps infused with Watson’s cognitive computing intelligence.” Among the many apps that IBM’s platform partners are launching alongside the Watson platform are Fluid, an online retail app that “calls upon Watson’s ability to understand the nuances of human language and uncover answers from Big Data,” and Welltok, a health application that will let consumers have “conversations” with Watson and let it develop a series of health itineraries to meet their needs. IBM’s press release follows below. More →
IBM spoke of shrinking its intelligent supercomputer Watson down to smartphone size last summer, and now it appears that the company is getting close to achieving that goal. Watson, which gained notoriety by famously trouncing two champions on Jeopardy, will not initially come to smartphones as a stand-alone app like Siri or Google Now, though it could eventually give both services a run for their money. Instead, IBM will partner with a number of companies including ANZ Bank, Nielsen, Celcom, IHS, and Royal Bank of Canada, Forbes reports to have Watson power customer service systems for these companies. Watson will initially be accessible though Web chats, email, smartphone apps and SMS, and voice recognition functionality is expected to come in future versions of the offering. Apps that include this new “Ask Watson” feature are expected to begin rolling out in the next few months.
Apple (AAPL) introduced its Siri voice assistant with the launch of the iPhone 4S last October and since then, a number of copycat apps have been made available. While all these services show potential, in their current state they are just too limited for everyday use. IBM (IBM) is looking to change that, however, with the help of its supercomputer Watson. Bernie Meyerson, IBM’s vice president of innovation, said that he always envisioned a voice-activated Watson that would answer questions based on location data, historical trends and scientific studies. More →