News Byte: IBM's Watson Ascends to the Cloud

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Watson: From TV star to business mogul
Watson: From TV star to business mogul

IBM today announced the launch of the IBM Watson Developers Cloud and with it the expanded commercialization of the cognitive computing entity that overpowered human Jeopardy! champions on the popular TV quiz show in 2011.

The cloud platform is aimed at applications providers that will be able to tap into resources allowing them to create Watson-powered apps. Since Watson runs on Big Data, App developers can use their own first-party data to design apps or access the IBM Watson Content Store for third-party data to inform their versions of Watson.

IBM did beta tests of the system with three development partners that will be introducing their Watson-powered apps in 2014. One, called Fluid, takes advantage of Watson's ability to understand the nuances of human language. Consumers using Fluid apps will make Watson their digital personal shopper and, IBM promises, receive informed responses to queries aimed at making smart purchase decisions.

To jumpstart Watson's emergence on the commercial scene, IBM will be working with several venture capital companies to identify strategic partners, according to a press release.

"This could bring about a paradigm shift not only in how people interact with computers, but in how we live our lives," says Mohamad Makhzoumi, a board member at Welltok, which will introduce one of the first three apps, a healthy living planner sponsored in part by insurance providers, health systems, and retailers.

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