Monday, February 29, 2016

Watson five years on

Five years ago IBM's super Google contraption Watson won big on Jeopardy.

Since then there have been maybe 24,398,102 media blurbs about the machine. And not much else to show for it. Watson was going to revamp medicine and cure cancer. When that didn't happen, well, Watson was going to revamp cooking. When that didn't happen, Watson was going to revamp something, IBM just couldn't figure out what.

All the while, IBM itself seemed to be wheezing toward the grave, as Ginni Rometty's services have proven mostly useless, though she's quite well paid. Maybe Watson needs to revamp its Maker. "Revenues at IBM have dropped for 15 straight quarters and the company has lowered profit expectations twice since late 2014. IBM shares declined more than 15% in 2015."

So it's not surprising that stories have begun to appear with a much sourer attitude toward Watson and its parent. This blast is typical.
The next few years after its game show win proved humbling for Watson. Today, IBM executives candidly admit that medicine proved far more difficult than they anticipated. Costs and frustration mounted on Watson’s early projects. They were scaled back, refocused and occasionally shelved.
Of course, artificial intelligence still holds great promise. It probably will cure cancer sooner or later. But it's going to be a lot longer and tougher slog than Watson or IBM thought.

1 comment:

  1. Mainly because medicine isn't Trivia Pursuit. *rolls eyes*