At the forefront of IBM’s reinvention journey is a $1 billion investment in Jeopardy-winning Watson, which it hopes will usher in a new era of “cognitive computing.” Earlier this month, Rometty and Mike Rhodin, head of IBM’s Watson business unit, opened its worldwide headquarters at the heart of New York Silicon Alley, across the street from Facebook. IBM also announced new customers for Watson in 20 different countries, new partners developing Watson apps, five new Watson client experience centers around the world, and that Watson has started to learn Spanish so it could help Spain’s CaixaBank employees advise the bank’s customers.
The cognitive computing era is defined by “systems that can understand natural language, that can start to connect the dots or create an understanding of what they read, and then learn through practice,” Rhodin told me last month on the sidelines of the EmTech MIT event hosted by MIT Technology Review. He added: “Eras are measured in decades. We are in year three. Every day we are finding new things we could be doing.”
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