Feeds

Siri, what do you make of IBM's Cognea gobble? Oh, we can't print THAT

Big Blue plugs virtual-assistant upstart into celebrity supercomputer Watson

Boost IT visibility and business value

IBM's Watson supercomputer team has acquired virtual-assistant maker Cognea.

We're told the upstart developer will slot into the “Watson Platform” to help sharpen the Jeopardy!-winning machine's chitchat with humanity.

Now that the celebrity super has won a gameshow, thanks to its banks of POWER7 processors and a copy of Wikipedia in 15TB of RAM, Big Blue is touting access to the beast – and it hopes to use Cognea's knowhow to lure in more developers.

“At IBM, we’re working on a host of technologies – a set of conversational services – aimed at enriching the relationship between you and the system,” wrote Michael Rhodin, senior veep at IBM Watson Group, yesterday. “These conversational services range from helping systems understand us as individuals to selecting the appropriate words and responses that are most meaningful to each of us.”

These "conversational services" will be available to programmers signing up to access a slice of Watson, we're told.

The supercomputer group was keen on Cognea as a first acquisition for the platform because its virtual assistants can adopt a personality to suit the situation: the software can act like a formal business stereotype, a friendly neighbour character, and so on, as required.

“We believe this focus on creating depth of personality, when combined with an understanding of the users’ personalities will create a new level of interaction that is far beyond today’s 'talking” smartphones',” Rhodin continued, letting slip a little stab at Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana.

Big Blue is putting a lot of effort into turning Watson into a money-spinner, forming the Watson Group around it, and investing $1bn in R&D for the system. Having plonked the supercomputer into a "cloud", IBM is offering its DeepQA software to businesses such as DBS Bank, which is using the Watson platform to give better advice to wealthy customers. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Nimble's latest mutants GORGE themselves on unlucky forerunners
Crossing Sandy Bridges without stopping for breath
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.