You've probably seen the Watson commercials, where what looks like a sentient box interacts with celebrities like Bob Dylan, Carrie Fisher, and Serena Williams; or doctors; or a young cancer survivor. Maybe you caught the IBM artificial intelligence technology's appearance in H&R Block's Super Bowl commercial starring Jon Hamm. "It is one of the most powerful tools our species has created. It helps doctors fight disease," Hamm says. "It can predict global weather patterns. It improves education for children everywhere. And now we unleash it on your taxes."
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Traditional business models, exemplified by Amazon and other large online retailers and marketplaces, are changing the way customers shop and their expectations of customer interactions. AI and the advent of powerful mobile computing devices are among the big drivers of this change. Ian Wong, a partner in IBM's digital strategy business discussed this revolution with me.
It's been just over a year since Microsoft's Tay shuffled off this digital coil in a swirl of racist, sexist and homophobic vitriol. One of the things I liked about Microsoft's approach was to not scrap the idea of an AI-powered chatbot but to take the experience of Tay and learn from it. So, a little over a year after Tay vanished, we welcome Zo. But like all younger siblings, she may have picked up a few bad habits from her older sister.
AI is probably the most interesting field of tech that is emerging. Now that computing power is almost limitless (subject to budget) with access to massive amounts of compute through cloud services, there are all sorts of interesting applications possible. So, naturally, AI and whatever flavour of sports-ball you are into is a candidate for the AI treatment. IBM is putting Watson on the court at Wimbledon, to find the best matches.
Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is here to stay. As the volume of data we are inundated with continues to increase, our ability to manage, interpret and act on it becomes increasingly difficult. AI offers a path forward but how we work with AI is changing on the back of greater accessibility to tools such as IBM’s Watson.
In the coming years we will see AI used in more ways and in applications we can scarcely imagine. This is a space IBM has been very active in, particularly through their Watson project. With people using more devices and the expected explosion in end-points with the IoT, they've applied their Watson tech to the challenge of endpoint management.