Researchers at Armonk-based IBM are working to develop the company’s Watson AI technology (the computer that competed on Jeopardy) for mobile devices. They expect to generate billions in sales by putting it to work in finance, healthcare, telecommunications and other areas. Currently the computer version is the company’s most high-profile product, after being sold to Lenovo Group Ltd. in 2005.
The company’s next challenge is to make it mobile. Even though most of the computations occur at the data center in Yorktown Heights, NY, a Watson smart phone application would still consume too much power for it to be practical today. The next hurdle is the time it takes Watson to do the “machine learning” – it can take years to master a field.
Researchers also need to add voice and image recognition to the service so that it can respond to real-world input. Unlike Apple’s Siri, IBM is focused on corporate customers and aims to tackle more complex questions such as explaining symptoms and Watson suggesting what the ailment might be.