IBM A.I. Watson is getting a second home in San Francisco

IBM's super smart artificial intelligence system Watson is heading West for a little sun, sand, and startups. IBM says the A.I., which became a Jeopardy champion when it beat humans on the game show in 2011, is getting a new West Coast headquarters in San Francisco next year. While the Watson Group will still keep its headquarters in Manhattan, New York, Watson West is aimed at serving as a hub that can easily reach out to startups in Silicon Valley.

Watson started out as something IBM focused on using in big projects for companies and institutions, including the medicine and health care industries. But with Watson West, IBM is interested in broadening the use of the system, announcing new features like conversational speech and language understanding, along with image and facial recognition.

Among the ways IBM is making Watson's service available include APIs, having already partnered with developers that have released 100 apps that take advantage of the A.I. The long-term goal is for Watson to serve as a cognitive computing operating system that powers data-heavy applications.

One example of a startup looking to take advantage of Watson's capabilities is VineSleuth, makers the app They hope to build kiosks that will be installed in grocery stores, and use Watson's language and translation services, along with predictive algorithms and data on the senses. With this, a user could ask the kiosk for a "wine for under $10 that goes well with salmon," and would be shown a list of suggestions.

As IBM explains, Watson West is aimed at enabling the entrepreneurial community to develop more apps and services, and that requires having a presence in the Silicon Valley area.

SOURCE New York Times