IBM making smartphone version of Watson

“International Business Machines researchers spent four years developing Watson, the computer smart enough to beat the champions of the quiz show ‘Jeopardy!’ Now they’re trying to figure out how to get those capabilities into the phone in your pocket,” Sarah Frier reports for The San Francisco Chronicle.

“Bernie Meyerson, IBM vice president of innovation, envisions a voice-activated Watson that answers questions, like a supercharged version of Apple’s Siri personal assistant,” Frier reports. “A farmer could stand in a field and ask his phone, ‘When should I plant my corn?’ He would get a reply in seconds, based on location data, historical trends and scientific studies.””

Frier reports, “Apple made Siri the focus of its marketing of the iPhone 4S, which debuted last year. The software is touted as a personal assistant that can answer a wide range of spoken questions – “Do I need an umbrella tomorrow?” – and put appointments in a calendar. Siri has become a defining characteristic of the iPhone, though it’s also drawn complaints. In a June survey by Piper Jaffray & Co., Siri was found to resolve requests correctly less than 70 percent of the time. Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for the Cupertino company, said customers are happy with Siri and that Apple will further improve the software in the next version of the iOS operating system.”

“With Watson, IBM aims to tackle more complex questions,” Frier reports. “The program will be able to understand oncology well enough to advise doctors on diagnosis and prescriptions, said Martin Kohn, IBM’s chief medical scientist. One iPad application for Watson – a health care program developed with a Columbia University professor – is being used to demonstrate its medical capabilities for prospective IBM customers.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Attribution: MacNN. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


    1. This is a really premium service that VERY few people will be willing to pay for on a continuous basis, at least at first. I see it as an iPhone/iPad app, with a per-use fee based on the amount of computing time required to respond to the request.

      Eventually Watson will be inexpensive enough to be available via mobile phone and the world will change. Rather than learning the basics in school, students will learn how to categorize and phrase questions appropriate for a situation … and Watson will do the rest.

      In future generations, people will have ‘Watson Chips’ implanted in their brain cortex and interact with Watson via brain waves. A lot of the work required to make this possible has already been done, but the first applications will probably be in the military or with disabled persons. We’ll get it five or ten years later. In 2024.

      1. “In future generations, people will have ‘Watson Chips’ implanted in their brain”

        I don’t think so. They will evolve into organic wi-fi centers in our cortex from the brain’s natural ability to learn and adapt the body. It will turn that learning upon itself and use the abundance of human exposure to the constant bombardment of radio and micro waves to extend its ability to learn and evolve. WE will become the aliens we feared in the 50’s.

    2. IBM licensed apple and windows to manufacture the PC irt designed back in the 70’s, because a gang of patent tribunal lawyers refused IBM to manufacture their design, citing monopoly issues, Lawyers are princes, while judges are petty kings— Maybe IBM should buy apple and cancel the license with windows or microsoft, the malware company. Watson a self sorting empirical matrix with infinite storage will reorganize anything dealing with human opinions, including government, law-medicine-education-etc etc. t should be the beginning of a better point in time for humanity and quality of life, but the lawyers, judges, politicians, federal reserve world class mafia all shun watson because money is only a unit of measure currently used as a power base to divide classes of slaves , hirelings, middle class protectorate of the world class mafia, seeking their one world power or a cartel of oligopolies used to supply the world with goods and services they own or control. our 3 presidents who tried to oust the federal reserve, Lincoln, Garfield, and Kennedy were murdered, What chance does Watson have against the several hundred thousand lawyers we have in the usa who felonize more victims than the next 20 nations combined, they get paid by the case load, they are the protectorate of the world class mafia—good has become bad, the demons of of ignorance and greed rules

    1. Siri is pretty useless outside the USA because of lack of licensed location data, e.g. About businesses, restaurants, cinemas, etc.

      Before Apple buys or licenses Watson or whatever, the American corporation should give the rest of the world Siri feature comparability with the USA.

    2. BLN, Yes the positronic brain in your iPhone 4s is just not really up to par. I mean really:
      there are not teraquads of data stored there,
      it cannot phone thru subspace,
      Kirk never picks up, he just lets it go to Starfleet answering,

      Why that phone is just so 2015 capacity, its just so sad. 🙂

    1. They could enter into an exclusive licensing arrangement with IBM to use Watson as an artificial intelligence agent for Mac OS X & iOS devices, or buy the Watson division outright from IBM.

      Siri should be out to pasture and shot to death like the running dog that she is.

  1. Is IBM going to be legally responsible for the malpractice suit that comes from Watson making medical decisions? Or is IBM going to reimburse the farmer if he follows Watsons advice and the crop is a bust?

  2. Beyond Apple and IBM, we are building something incredible. And this is only the beginning. It’s going to be fun to see where this technology is at 10 years from now with the biggest tech companies pouring so much time and money into to it.

  3. MDN, you missed your chance on a thematic MDN Take:

    Tim Cook holding the Watson-enabled Siri prototype: “Watsiri, how should I replace Samsung as my chief parts supplier?”

  4. If this “smartphone” looks anything like those crap thinkpads and aptivas and point of sale machines at Starbucks…don’t hold your breath. IBM has a brilliant way of marketing that it’s building a better planet…but really, it’s brilliant at sucking money out of governments around the world.

  5. IBM are like the mad genius, they are very smart, so smart that very little few people can understand them.
    I work with tons of programs and always, IBM programs are the most difficult to deploy because their installers have tons of bugs, who ever that have work with IBM DB connect 9.7 will tell you that.
    They make great software, but they really need some QA and Apple is the best company to provide that.

  6. here is the test. try using Siri to answer some of those jeopardy questions. Even though Siri couldnt answer in a question, i am curious how many it could get correct by just altering the answer into a question.

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