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IBM's Watson wants to be uncaged for business

Perhaps eyeing the success of Wolfram Alpha's apps, IBM is considering a path to mobile access to Watson by (large) business. A recently published article in Bloomberg highlights this ambition as well as brings up some interesting limitations of the supermachine.

A comparison to Siri is made in the article, which is then later described to be a terrible analogy. Apparently, a Watson "client" couldn't run on a phone today. Not only that, but Watson is very openly described as a human-trained specialized knowledge base with more "general" ambitions. IBM does not seem interested in the idea that people might just enjoy playing Jeopardy against it on their phones or something similar.

Instead, we are to understand we need these massive clients that are entirely unlike Siri or Wolfram, which just transmit queries to a mind-in-the-cloud. To me, this is absurdist propaganda intended to convince enterprise business leaders they must order up a specialized Watson just for their industry. This would mean a small army of IBM scientists feeding Watson Two Point Oh questions for a couple years and then either giving it a digital strawberry or administering an electric shock depending on it's answer. That's their current business model for it. Him?

If real world customized applications of Watson really take years to implement and we are to believe that IBM engineers can't think of any way for the enterprise consumer to interact with Watson on today's (rather powerful) devices, I predict a sharp decline in the relevance of this version of AI technology — only to be remembered by a game show smackdown... not unlike its ancestor Deep Blue.

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