IBM Watson is still a work in progress. Some companies and researchers testing Watson systems have reported difficulties in adapting the technology to work with their data sets. IBM’s CEO, Virginia Rometty, said in October last year that she expects Watson to bring in $10 billion in annual revenue in 10 years, even though that figure then stood at around $100 million.
IBM is moving aggressively to commercialize the technology. Last week the company announced it had teamed up with Twitter and the Chinese social network Tencent to offer a service that will try to find useful insights from the torrent of messages sent through these services every day. Using the technology a company that sells kitchen equipment might, for example, learn about a possible problem with one of its products from comments made by restaurant patrons.
“We’re betting billons of dollars, and a third of this division now is working on it,” John Kelly, director of IBM Research, said of cognitive computing, a term the company uses to refer to artificial intelligence techniques related to Watson.
So IBM is betting most of its future on making Watson Artificial Intelligence payoff big. HP was betting its corporate future on memristors and optical in chip communication.