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IBM unveils new Watson capabilities to help scale use of AI

IBM has unveiled new capabilities planned for IBM Watson, designed to help scale the use of artificial intelligence by businesses.

"This past year has shown us that the real power of AI is in helping companies take action and respond to changing conditions in real time," says Daniel Hernandez, general manager of data and AI, IBM. 

"That means in minutes and hours -- not weeks or months.

"Today's new AI capabilities are yet another example of how cutting-edge AI advancements coming out of IBM Research help us to deliver innovations for language, automation and building trust in IBM Watson that are changing the game for businesses of all sizes and across all industries," he says.

Developed by IBM Research, the new capabilities are designed to improve the automation of AI, provide a higher degree of precision in natural language processing, and foster greater trust in outcomes derived from AI predictions. 

They include:

  • Reading Comprehension is based on an innovative question-answering (QA) system from IBM Research. Currently in beta in IBM Watson Discovery, it is planned as a new feature that can help identify more precise answers in response to natural language queries from vast troves of complex enterprise documents. It also provides scores that indicate how confident the system is in each answer.
  • FAQ Extraction uses a novel NLP technique from IBM Research to automate the extraction of Q&A pairs from FAQ documents. Currently in beta in IBM Watson Assistants search skill, it is planned as a new feature to help businesses keep virtual assistants up-to date with the latest answers and reduce the time-consuming process of manual updates.
  • A new intent classification model is now available in IBM Watson Assistant. It is designed to more accurately understand an end-users goal or intent when engaging with a virtual assistant and to enable administrators to train the system faster. The model provides more accurate results from less data versus compared commercial systems. This can help businesses go live with virtual assistants in a few days while achieving high accuracy.
  • IBM Watson Discovery now includes support for 10 new languages including Bosnian, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hindi, Norwegian (Bokml), Norwegian (Nynorsk), Serbian and Swedish. IBM has continued to add support for additional languages to help businesses build global, enterprise-grade NLP solutions.

IBM also announced plans to commercialise IBM Research-developed AI Factsheets in Watson Studio in Cloud Pak for Data throughout the next year. 

Like nutrition labels for foods or information sheets for appliances, AI Factsheets are designed to provide information about a products important characteristics. Standardising and publicising this information will help build trust in AI services across the industry.

To complement this, IBM Services for AI at Scale, a new consulting offering, provides businesses with a framework, methodology, and underlying technology to guide organisations on their journey to  trustworthy and ethical AI. IBM Cloud Pak for Data also has new capabilities to provide a complete foundation for AI that can run on any cloud.