IBM Watson AI Assistant Can Now Work With Autonomous Devices

IBM’s Watson has earned fame besting Jeopardy! champions. But now the artificial intelligence (AI) platform is rolling out Watson Assistant, designed to “help bridge the information and data sharing gap between people and things.”

Watson Assistant is designed to be embedded in a wide variety of things, from cars to conference rooms, retail stores to banks.

The idea, apparently, is that Watson Assistant’s AI capabilities can help Internet of Things (IoT) systems serve proactive and personalized experiences with enhanced data security. Initial applications center around travel and vehicles, with such customers as HARMAN, the Munich Airport, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Autodesk.

Maseratis and Recipes

In travel applications, the IBM spokesperson said Watson Assistant could eventually automatically communicate changes in your itinerary, including flight delays and other issues, to all your vendors and devices.

For example, it could automatically program your destination into your rental car’s navigation system, and it preset smart appliances in your hotel room with your preferred music, temperature, and lighting.

Similarly, in vehicular applications Watson Assistant could ask you questions during your commute home, communicating with your smart home to determine what ingredients you had on hand to make dinner, and suggest appropriate recipes, and where to stop to pick up any missing essentials. It could also identify mechanical problems, such as a short in a fuel-pump relay, and automatically schedule a service appointment.

Other examples provided by IBM include working with Chameleon Technology, a UK-based designer and manufacturer of smart home displays, to leverage your calendar and local weather reports to work with your solar panels, home battery, and electric car to ensure that every component is always topped up and ready to go when you need it.

An encouraging AI/IoT vision, if not yet a reality

It’s a grand and compelling vision, but it’s still at the concept stage. While all of these capabilities might exist in the proof-of-concept stage, they’re still a long way from being ready for prime time.

IBM highlight security and data protection. This kind of AI/IoT synergy creates a lot of personally identifiable data that could lead to unintended consequences if not properly protected.

The next step, for IBM or anyone, is to start pilot programs that actually do the things promised in these new developments, for at least some people in some situations. Only then will we find out how well these approaches work and whether they really make a difference for the people who use them.

Network World

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