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12 July 2016

For IBM, the answer is Watson. But what is the question?

In 2011, IBM’s Watson computer beat two of the most successful human contestants on the long-running US game show Jeopardy!, which requires participants to provide a question in response to general knowledge clues. In the event, Watson marked a breakthrough in artificial intelligence with its understanding of natural language and ability to make sense of vast amounts of written human knowledge. Since then, IBM has been preparing Watson for work in business, research and medicine, aiming to help organisations find answers to the questions they often ask, faster and at lower cost. Businesses can select from a set of 28 application programming interfaces (APIs) with which they can build Watson applications, or integrate Watson’s capabilities within systems they are developing. The APIs can help analyse the tone of text, build a list of contextually related terms, script conversations and classify natural language, and are all available from IBM’s cloud platform Bluemix. Application of these technologies is spreading. In May 2016, ...

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