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The Banal Truth About IBM’s Artificial Intelligence?

Ben covers web and technology giants such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and their impact on the cloud computing industry, whilst also writing about data centre players and their increasing importance in Europe. He also covers future technologies such as drones, aerospace, science, and the effect of technology on the environment.

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Blog: You don’t need an artificial intelligence supercomputer to work out who’s buying what but it does make you richer

A totally expected but downright disheartening press release this morning from the IBM Watson team. Cashing in on the post-Thanksgiving, Black Friday shopping madness, IBM’s Watson supercomputing, machine learning, AI platform has vomited out a meaningless list of the ‘100 consumer electronics’.

Via the IBM Watson Trend app, IBM has ‘discovered’ that consumers are loving Nike shoes, Star Wars droids and hoverboards. Really? We really need Watson to tell us this?

artifical intelligence“Watson discovered consumers are flocking to brands that offer “barefoot running” or “natural running” shoes marketed to help prevent injury,” said IBM. “Watson found that Nike shoe owners in particular are talking about Nike’s Free, the Air Max and Flyknit Racing Shoes, which offer color, design and versatility as both athletic and casual footwear.”

Moreover, Watson has identified “growing excitement around the new R2-D2 Astromech Interactive Droid that walks, spins, and turns its head realistically. Watson has also identified buzz around the pricier BB-8 that responds to human voice-commands and shows and records holographic videos.”

It really doesn’t take a genius to work these trends outs. After all, marketers and researchers have been doing it manually for years, painstakingly cobbling together lists, search terms, and analytics to see how best to promote their products and where. And herein lies the problem, Watson is useful for this. Applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to fields such as retail saves money, reduces manpower, and ultimately proves valuable to business. These are, unfortunately, the exact kind of immediate applications we can expect machine learning and artificial intelligence to be applied in. It makes sense: profitable, lucrative, and simple.

The long-term, more humanitarian goals of artificial intelligence such as use cases in humanitarian relief, medical examinations and the general advancement of the collective human effort just seem so much further away today :(