IBM Watson sharpens its cognitive skills: New APIs help make it more 'human'

IBM Watson is watching. Listening, understanding and talking, too. Big Blue has expanded the set of cognitive APIs, technologies and tools for developers creating products, services and applications embedded with Watson to give it more cognitive skills and understand and make better sense of how humans interact and react.

New capabilities, offered through the Watson Developer Cloud, include advanced language, speech and vision services among other developer tools.



The Watson platform has evolved from one API and a limited set of application-specific, deep Q&A capabilities to more than 25 APIs powered by over 50 technologies in a span of two years. As part of its language upgrade, IBM is introducing significant advances in services that enable cognitive applications to understand the ambiguities of natural language in text.

For instance, IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier enables developers to build products and applications that understand intent and meaning. IBM Watson Dialog makes app interactions more natural by creating conversations tailored to the individual style a person uses to ask a quesion. IBM Watson Retrieve and Rank improves QA information retrieval using machine learning to detect 'signals' in data and help users uncover hard-to-find information. IBM Watson Concept Insights enables an application to expand and relate concepts, drawing on the meaning of a word rather than simple text matching.

IBM Watson Visual Insights will allow developers to build apps that reveal insights from social media images and video. This API applies reasoning to the content of images to deliver deeper insights, assess trends and patterns. It can give answers to questions such as 'What are my brand's biggest fans posting photos about this week?' and 'How does that compare to last month?'

IBM is advancing IBM Speech to Text and IBM Text to Speech services by adding new tools that allow developers to create mobile apps in multiple languages, including Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, for now.

As part of this announcement, IBM also said it will expand the company's presence in Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area with a new Watson Hub, South of Market in San Francisco. IBM believes it will put them closer to, and increase collaboration with, the local start ups, developers, venture capital groups, established businesses and academic experts the company is currently working with to take cognitive computing into new markets. The location will also serve as the new global headquarters for IBM Commerce, a high-growth industry opportunity for IBM and Watson. The facility is scheduled to open in early 2016.

Updated Date: Sep 25, 2015 13:38 PM

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