DG News Service (Boston Bureau) — IBM is preparing to give third parties access to its Watson supercomputer with the aim of spurring the growth of applications that take advantage of the system’s artificial intelligence capabilities.
Watson, which is derived from IBM’s DeepQA project, drew worldwide attention in 2011 after it soundly defeated human opponents on the Jeopardy! game show.
IBM has been applying Watson’s machine learning — or “cognitive computing” — technology to domains such as health care, but now the company is ready to share Watson with the broader world.
“We’ve been developing, evolving and maturing the technology,” said Rob High, an IBM fellow who serves as CTO of Watson, in an interview. “It’s stable and mature enough to support an ecosystem now. We’ve become convinced there’s something very special here and we shouldn’t be holding it back.”
Watson has “come a long way” since the Jeopardy! competition, High said. IBM decided to focus on health care initially because of the industry’s “particularly challenging” linguistic qualities. “We thought if we could master that, it would open the door for other domains,” he said.
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