In June 2013, I was invited to a fascinating videoconference call with the IBM Watson Team and other IBM Global Partners out of Sydney, Australia.

In the insights session, they spoke about a partnership that has just been established with ANZ Bank to use IBM Watson as a “Knowledge Base Expert System”. ANZ Bank will be enabling IBM Watson to chat directly with customers when requesting Wealth/ Insurance advice.

The overall improvements to IBM Watson are:

  • Better understanding of natural language
  • IBM Watson can now understand nuances in language and how to interact with people who are not necessarily the Engineers who built IBM Watson
  • Built-in technology improvements to better inform customers (for application in Customer Service).

You can imagine here, a full contact centre being powered by Watson. 24/7.

Other applications include Global Health areas such as telemedicine, remote medicine and remote advice as facilitator and virtual teacher.

An important distinction is that IBM Watson is not meant to be used in strong modelling/ strong analytics applications. I specifically asked about IBM Watson’s potential in City Planning as it relates to account for shifts in Demographics, an aging population that is living longer, and coastal cities that will be impacted by Climate Change—the answer was that there are other IBM Products and Services that already do this, but this is not meant to be IBM Watson.

I also inquired if IBM Watson would be used for Autism Research as it is building stronger natural language capabilities. It is an area that I was told hasn’t been explored «but could be of great interest ahead».