NAB 2018: IBM Watson on Refining AI for Closed Captioning

Closed captioning isn’t just for the hard-of-hearing anymore. According to Digiday, 85 percent of Facebook video is viewed without sound. That signals a trend of viewers who prefer to watch closed captioning, putting the heat on solutions providers to come up with compliant systems that are also accurate and speedy. With artificial intelligence, says IBM Watson Media senior offering manager David Kulczar, closed captioning can be enhanced to go beyond transcription, and automatically identify background audio descriptions. Continue reading NAB 2018: IBM Watson on Refining AI for Closed Captioning

NAB 2018: Potential Impact of AI on Storytelling, Moviemaking

Do Androids dream of making movies? That was the provocative question posed in a conversation at the Future of Cinema conference track at NAB. Universal Pictures head of creative technologies Annie Chang led a discussion with ETC@USC data scientist Yves Bergquist, who is also chief executive of the AI firm Novamente, and IBM Watson Media senior product manager David Kulczar. Bergquist began with the definition of AI: “the design of optimal behavior of agents in known or unknown computable environments.” Continue reading NAB 2018: Potential Impact of AI on Storytelling, Moviemaking

IBM, Tribeca Award Best Idea on Applying AI to M&E Industry

For two months, IBM, in partnership with the Tribeca Film Festival, held a “Storytellers With Watson” competition, asking for submissions of ideas on how the media and entertainment industry can use AI. Now, after an all-day pitch event at IBM’s New York-based THINKLab, the competition has a winner: filmmaker/producer Seth Grossman, whose idea is to use AI to automatically create sizzle reels. His Rip-o-matic With Watson would analyze, index and edit together “rips” from videos that express the creator’s vision. Continue reading IBM, Tribeca Award Best Idea on Applying AI to M&E Industry

Visa and IBM to Extend Digital Payments to Connected Devices

Visa and IBM are partnering to make electronic payments easier in the emerging Internet of Things era. The two companies envision a commerce-based IoT ecosystem that extends digital payment capabilities to smart devices, including vehicles, wearables, and appliances. Drivers, for example, could pay for gas, parking, or oil changes before stepping out of their connected cars. Watson’s IoT platform would handle the AI tech, while mobile payment solution Visa Token Service would address digital transactions. Continue reading Visa and IBM to Extend Digital Payments to Connected Devices

IBM’s Watson Joins with H&R Block for Better Tax Preparation

IBM struck a deal with H&R Block to utilize Watson to help the company’s 70,000 tax professionals at 10,000 branch offices file taxes for 11 million customers. The partnership, which was presented in a 60-second Super Bowl ad on Sunday, began last summer when H&R Block chief executive Bill Cobb contacted IBM. His goal was to aid the company’s professionals in increasing tax refunds and reducing tax liabilities for the company’s clients, and make the experience “engaging and interactive.” Continue reading IBM’s Watson Joins with H&R Block for Better Tax Preparation

Waymo Shifts Gears to Become a Supplier, GM Releases SDK

Alphabet has recalibrated its strategy with autonomous vehicle division Waymo. After spinning it off into a separate company, Alphabet is now focusing on Waymo’s ability to provide a complete hardware/software technological platform to manufacturers making self-driving cars. This new goal is in line with company CFO Ruth Porat’s directive that its moonshot initiatives actually meet specific financial targets. By doing so, Waymo becomes a direct competitor with companies such as Mobileye and Delphi. Continue reading Waymo Shifts Gears to Become a Supplier, GM Releases SDK

First Impressions of CES 2017: Where is All the Data Going?

CES is always a data scientist’s nightmare, and this year is no different. Why? It’s simple. The hardware vision we’re being served (24/7 connection with everything) immediately triggers one critical question: Where will all this data go? How will this comically fragmented data be integrated in a way that creates value for your lives, our families, our organizations? The central conundrum of wearables and IoT, which we see nowhere here, is that the firehose of data created by these devices can only create value if merged together in a way that’s (a) central, (b) safe, and (c) relevant to our lives. Emphasis on (c), of course. Continue reading First Impressions of CES 2017: Where is All the Data Going?

Coming This Year: AI, VR, IoT, Robots and Self-Driving Cars

The Internet, digital medical devices, blockchain, gene editing, drones and solar energy all found their tipping point in 2015. What will 2016 bring? Some experts predict we’ll see “the inflexion point” in virtual reality and holodecks, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous cars, robots and space exploration. Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt has publicly stated that AI will solve the world’s hard problems, including population growth, climate change, human development and education. Continue reading Coming This Year: AI, VR, IoT, Robots and Self-Driving Cars

Future of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprise and Consumers

Proponents of artificial intelligence are quick to point out that, as Google searches and Siri exemplify, it’s nothing new. In fact, panelists talking about “The Future of Artificial Intelligence” at CES described their own and others’ efforts in the field dating back to 2007. But a combination of a new trend in collecting and curating massive amounts of data, along with widespread cloud usage, is opening to the doors to more platforms and applications for artificial intelligence in enterprise and consumer markets. Continue reading Future of Artificial Intelligence for Enterprise and Consumers

CES: Keynotes by Netflix, Intel, IBM, YouTube, and Others

CES keynote presentations by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl highlight the increasing importance of entertainment to the vast consumer technology market. The scheduling of Netflix as the opening session, a time slot usually occupied by hardware companies, helps to underscore the Consumer Technology Association’s expanding universe of products and services. So, too, does the presence of two auto manufacturers, GM and VW, and tech giants Intel and IBM. Samsung is the lone hardware keynote. Continue reading CES: Keynotes by Netflix, Intel, IBM, YouTube, and Others

IBM Targets Silicon Valley Startups with Planned Watson West

In 2016, IBM plans to open a West Coast headquarters for Watson, its artificial-intelligence system, in San Francisco. The company will also unveil new Watson capabilities, including speech, language understanding, image recognition and sentiment analysis, all of which are associated with AI in computing. The East Coast headquarters in downtown Manhattan was established in January 2014 as a separate business. Watson West, expected to employ several hundred people, is aimed at Silicon Valley startups. Continue reading IBM Targets Silicon Valley Startups with Planned Watson West

Talking Smart Toys to Run on Watson Supercomputing System

Toy-making company Elemental Path unveiled the first connected smart toy to be powered by IBM’s Watson cognitive supercomputing system. A talking dinosaur is the first in the line of smart toys known as CogniToys. The dinosaur has speech recognition capabilities and it can have conversations with children, answering a wide range of their questions. Elemental Path’s Kickstarter campaign has already more than doubled its goal of raising $50,000 to start producing the smart toys. Continue reading Talking Smart Toys to Run on Watson Supercomputing System