IBM’s Watson, the most powerful artificial intelligence in the world, is the subject of a great amount of hype in the tech world. In November 2013 IBM announced that they would begin accepting independent partnership offers from individuals who believe they can apply the technology to their own applications. “Powered by IBM Watson” will become a term you will be hearing more often beginning this year.
The partnerships are just one part of a program IBM decided to launch called “The Watson Ecosystem.” IBM will recruit tech savvy entrepreneurs who have enough experience and motivation to take Watson’s power and share it with the world in the form of an app. The Ecosystem project has a budget of $1 billion dollars, with $100 million in venture funding available to accepted partnerships.
According to IBM,
Partners are building a community of organizations who share a vision for shaping the future of their industry through the power of cognitive computing. IBM’s cognitive computing cloud platform will help drive innovation and creative solutions to some of life’s most challenging problems. The ecosystem combines business partners’ experience, offerings, domain knowledge and presence with IBM’s technology, tools, brand, and marketing.
With a price tag of $1 billion dollars and such incredible hype, it appears IBM is preparing for Watson to be their next tidal wave of innovation. In fact, they’ve already begun accepting partnerships, allowing the technology to begin learning and growing on a grand scale right at this very moment.
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Absolutely anyone can become a partner. As long as you meet the required criteria, and after Watson agrees to become your friend of course, then you’re in. The companies that currently have a partnership under the Ecosystem are few, but they offer us an exciting future nonetheless. A sampling of Ecosystem Program participants include:
Fluid, inc. - Fluid uses IBM Watson technology to create the Fluid Expert Personal Shopper. This app takes advantage of Watson’s ability to understand human language and scan extremely large databases of data very quickly. This app is your own personal shopping assistant. It can speak to and understand you, and will give you shopping advice specific to what you are looking for. Want to buy a new flying car? Watson will scan the user reviews, prices, product background, safety information, past releases, and future releases from 1000′s of different website at the same time and calculate the best product for you.
MD Buyline, Inc - The Hippocrates app powered by IBM Watson provides users with a personal medical research assistant who researches all the possible evidence that exists before giving a calculated diagnosis. This can help doctors make a more educated decision, and help patients ensure that their doctors didn’t just coast through medical school.
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Welltok, Inc. - Welltok is developing an app called CaféWell Concierge powered by IBM Watson that will create Intelligent Health Itineraries™ for consumers. These personalized itineraries will include tailored activities that encourage healthy behaviors for users. Also, by having conversations and sharing information about your health and how you feel, Watson becomes your personal health, nutrition, and overall well-being guru, suggesting the best course of action for you to ensure you always feel happy and satisfied.
This is only the beginning. Watson will become exponentially more efficient, more human-like, more adaptive, and more intelligent with each and every user interaction that occurs. Billions of people worldwide will be helping it learn, and the more it learns, the faster it will learn more, ad infnitum. As Watson benefits, so will humanity. We will be rewarded with near infinite and instantaneous ingenuity, information, calculations, hypothesis, and explanations on a daily basis. We are being granted a constantly improving, always expanding brain at our fingertips. This is only the beginning.
A particular program using Watson technology is so powerful that it has shown to be undeniably better than doctors at diagnosing illness and prescribing a cure due to its ability to scan, analyze, and cross reference libraries of personal and scholarly information all at the same time.
If you’re interested, you can read about the science behind Watson as well as how and why the technology was created. May as well start studying up on your robot overlord now and get into its good graces.