IBM Bows Watsonx Suite of Enterprise AI Products, Services

With artificial intelligence development dating back to the 1950s, IBM was clearly ahead of its time. The company has quietly built a commercial portfolio, with more than 100 million customers across 20 industries using its Watson suite, the company says. At its annual Think conference, the company unboxed IBM Watsonx, a next-generation platform that leverages the scale and scope of foundation models to provide custom solutions for data-driven clients. Described as an “enterprise studio for AI builders,” Watsonx is an end-to-end framework that combines the tools, infrastructure and consulting expertise corporations can use to onboard AI.

Watsonx has three components:, and watsonx.governance, the company explains in a blog post that describes how the product line offers advanced machine learning, data management and generative AI capabilities to train, validate, tune and deploy AI systems safely and compliantly with speed.

IBM says it “meticulously” curates the data used to build its models, “aggressively” filtering for hate and profanity, licensing restrictions and bias. “When objectionable data is identified, we remove it, retrain the model, and repeat,” the company says.

Embracing “no model left behind,” IBM has built the LiGO algorithm that recycles small models and “grows” them into larger ones, “saving 40 percent to 70 percent of the time, cost, and carbon output required to train a model,” IBM says.

TechCrunch says IBM is “motivated by the challenges many businesses still experience in deploying AI within the workplace,” citing an IBM survey that found 30 percent of business leaders identify “trust and transparency issues as barriers holding them back from adopting AI, while 42 percent cite privacy concerns — specifically around generative AI.”

“AI may not replace managers, but the managers that use AI will replace the managers that do not. It really does change how people work,” Rob Thomas, chief commercial officer at IBM, said in media roundtable reported by TechCrunch.

While Microsoft, Google and OpenAI “are rushing to lock down potentially massive new consumer markets for generative AI, IBM is instead leaning into helping other companies implement their AI via a ‘data model factory’ that offers IBM clients products tuned for their specialties in domains like language, code, chemistry and geospatial data,” Axios writes.

In partnership with Hugging Face, Watsonx will also be offering open-source models (which TechCrunch explores in some detail).

IBM Watson Is Getting an AI Makeover, and That’s Bad News for Workers Everywhere, TechRadar, 5/10/23
IBM Commercial Boss Warns Managers to Start Using AI, or Risk Being Replaced. He’s Not Alone, Fortune, 5/10/23
PayPal, IBM Turn to AI to Cut Costs, Yahoo! Finance, 5/9/23

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