Seeking Alpha

IBM buys startup to give Watson "depth of personality"

  • IBM has bought Cognea, a startup developing virtual assistants that interact with users via A.I.-based personalities. Terms are undisclosed.
  • Big Blue plans to integrate Cognea's technology with its Watson A.I. hardware/software, with the goal of allowing Watson to deliver "conversational services." Potential end-markets mentioned by the company include "virtual personal assistants, health coaches, companions for elderly people, investment advisors, tutors, travel agents, customer care agents and shopping advisors."
  • Google (Now), Apple (Siri), Nuance (Dragon Mobile), and Microsoft (Cortana) are few of the companies that have already made big investments in virtual assistant platforms.
  • IBM, hungry to halt double-digit server revenue declines, promised to invest over $1B in Watson in January, including $100M in startups working on software/services for Watson systems. But while the company is hoping Watson produces $10B/year in revenue in ten years, the platform had only produced $100M in revenue as of last October.
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