IBM Looking for New Profit Center to Use Watson/Artificial Intelligence for Preparing Tax Returns!

Dear Commons Community,

After sixteen straight unprofitable quarters, IBM is turning to Watson, its cloud supercomputer,  to develop new revenue.  Watson will be used increasingly for high transaction commercial applications.  Companies including Geico, Staples and Macy’s are adding Watson technology to answer customer questions or to improve mobile apps that guide shoppers through stores. As reported by the New York Times:

“Now in its broadest deployment so far, Watson will be assisting H&R Block’s 70,000 tax professionals this filing season at 10,000 branch offices across the country, where 11 million people file taxes.

The H&R Block partnership with Watson, announced yesterday, is being presented to a wider audience with a 60-second television ad during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

For IBM, the collaboration with H&R Block underlines its strategy in the emerging market for artificial intelligence technology. Watson will touch consumers, but through IBM’s corporate clients.

“Watson will become a really smart, virtual assistant,” said David Kenny, senior vice president of IBM’s Watson business.

The embedded-in-business formula is different from the path other technology companies are taking with digital assistants powered by artificial intelligence. Others are pursuing the broad consumer market directly with artificial intelligence software helpers like Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft, Alexa from Amazon and Assistant from Google.

In the corporate technology market, the major companies are racing to get on the artificial intelligence bandwagon, though they lack the early lead and powerful branding of Watson.

Data-fueled artificial intelligence will be an ingredient in all kinds of software used in corporations, to streamline work, identify new customers, spot savings and guide product development, analysts say. By 2018, the research company IDC predicts that 75 percent of new business software will include artificial intelligence features.”

“Big brother” or should I say “Big Watson” is a coming.


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