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IBM to coddle Watson, in search of enterprise boost: FT

Big Blue turns to analytics platform, as growth slowdown persists

Business and intelligence, Business applications, Big data, IBM (www.ibm.com)

IBM Corp is set to invest heavily on advanced analytics platform Watson, in a bid to rescue its slowing enterprise business, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Plans for Watson include purpose-built premises in New York's Silicon Alley tech district, but analysts are still sceptical that Watson represents true innovation. The platform famously won the US quiz show Jeopardy, demonstrating a robust application of natural-language processing technology, but AI specialists are split on whether the answers given were arrived at by breakthrough means.

"Watson won Jeopardy, but does it know it won?" said Oren Etzioni, who runs an AI project bankrolled by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. "Would you let Watson be your doctor?" Etzioni pointed out that the Jeopardy experiment was "a stunning PR success", but claimed: "If you take it any further, it falls flat on its face."

IBM, which hails Watson as a commercial success that has garnered "significant revenues", considers the platform to be an example of decision-support technology rather than an automated replacement for humans.