IBM has announced it is opening up a raft of APIs for its Watson supercomputer system to enable developers to add new AI features into their services.
The APIs will focus on the numerous services Watson can provide covering language, speech, text and data analytics. Mike Rhodin, senior vice president, IBM Watson, said doing this would drive the potential of Watson into new arenas.
“We believe that by opening Watson to all, and continuously expanding what it can do, we are democratising the power of data, and with it innovation,” he said.
The new APIs including IBM Watson Dialog, which can be used to create natural-sounding text chat services, such as when ordering a pizza or movie tickets. Another, Speech to Text, could be incorporated into apps for real-time transcription.
Images can also be analysed with the AlchemyVision tool, which IBM said can be used to "enhance the way businesses make decisions by integrating image cognition".
IBM also revealed that it has already signed up some partners and businesses to start using these APIs.
One of these is The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), which is using the API for IBM Watson Concept Insights to help find connections between researchers and to predict authors who are relevant to a given technical area.
Meanwhile a firm called TouchCast is using IBM Speech to Text to instantly transcribe meetings during video web conferences.
Another interesting case study is a wine firm called VineSleuth, whose Wine4.me In-Store Advisor tool makes wine recommendations using the Watson cognitive language and speech capabilities in tandem with the company's proprietary objective wine data.
This allows customers to share wine preferences in plain language and receive a custom list of suggested wines based on their preferences.
As well as the new APIs, IBM said it would open an office in San Francisco to showcase the capabilities of Watson, no doubt to tap into the tech community, including startups, and make Watson an integral part of their offerings.
The office will open in 2016 at 505 Howard Street.
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