Need a business solution? Just ask Watson

IBM-developed question-answering cognitive computer system ‘Watson’ is set to make its mark in the Middle East with a new entity that partners the global tech firm with investment firm Mubadala.

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ABU DHABI // A "thinking" computer system, which famously defeated two former champions on the American game show Jeopardy, will now be able to help UAE businesses reach their full potential.

Watson, IBM’s question-answering machine, will be used by Mubadala and its partners to drive innovative projects across the region.

On Monday, at New York University Abu Dhabi, to coincide with UAE Innovation Week, IBM and Mubadala created a new body – Cognit Technology Solutions – to bring Watson’s brainpower to local industries, entrepreneurs, app developers, and start-ups.

Watson can process voice and text to interpret data and answer queries, providing applications in fields such as health care, retail, education and government services.

“Cognit will enable technological innovation all around us, providing Watson technology to local forward-thinking organisations across multiple sectors,” said Homaid Al Shemmari, chief executive of aerospace and engineering services at Mubadala.

“The joint venture is a significant addition to Mubadala’s ICT portfolio and fortifies our ambition to develop the UAE as a regional ICT hub.”

Watson made its mark in 2011 when it competed on the trivia game show Jeopardy, beating two former human champions to receive the first place prize of US$1 million (Dh3.67m). To compete on the show, Watson's programmers gathered 200 million pages of content, structured and unstructured, taking up four terabytes of disk space.

IBM is working to expand Watson’s knowledge across areas including health care, law, education, insurance and finance, as well as teaching the system languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Arabic.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

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