IBM envisions its Watson supercomputer becoming a supercharged voice assistant

Dan Graziano
August 28, 2012
IBM envisions its Watson supercomputer becoming a supercharged voice assistant

Apple (AAPL) introduced its Siri voice assistant with the launch of the iPhone 4S last October and since then, a number of copycat apps have been made available. While all these services show potential, in their current state they are just too limited for everyday use. IBM (IBM) is looking to change that, however, with the help of its supercomputer Watson. Bernie Meyerson, IBM’s vice president of innovation, said that he always envisioned a voice-activated Watson that would answer questions based on location data, historical trends and scientific studies.

“The power it takes to make Watson work is dropping down like a stone,” Meyerson said in an interview with Bloomberg. “One day, you will have ready access to an incredible engine with a world knowledge base.” While the current version of Watson would consume too much power on mobile devices, the company is actively working on Watson 2.0, which will shrink its power consumption and add more “senses” to the supercomputer.

“In 2.0, we hope to give him more senses,” said Katharine Frase, vice president of industry research at IBM. “A guy could say into his phone, ‘Here’s where I am and here’s what I see,’ lifting it up to take in images of the environment.”

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