CANNES – The near-term forecast at The Weather Company calls for Watson—as in a name change that will place IBM’s artificial intelligence capabilities at the forefront of a company heretofore known for its atmospheric aptitude.
“The experiences that we’re are bringing our clients through here that are all Watson-based is really where the future is for us,” The Weather Company CMO Jordan Bitterman says in this interview with Beet.TV at the 2017 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
All things weather-related won’t disappear altogether when The Weather Company undergoes its name change. The future “does not exclude weather, because weather is obviously a big part of how we can utilize AI going forward,” Bitterman says. “We’re going to be rolling it out in the coming months.”
IBM envisions Watson as akin to the Android or iOS app stores “where it’s a platform that people can develop on.” Bitterman cites companies like Soul Machines that are building their technologies on top of the Watson stack via application programming interfaces.
For Soul Machines, building “virtual humans” involves using such Watson skillsets as natural language recognition to sentiment analysis. Auckland-based Soul Machines recently unveiled its first virtual assistant, Nadia, voiced by actress Cate Blanchett, as idealog reports.
“Right now there’s 38 different API’s that Watson has and there’s more in testing right now,” Bitterman says. “Probably by the end of the year there should be close to 50 or even 60 different API’s that Watson can enable companies with.”
Cannes attendees can demo various kinds of AI interfaces at The Weather Company’s encampment at the Carlton hotel. One of the experiences is operating the self-driving car called Olli that is powered by IBM’s technology.
“We also have a mirror here that will let you know if you have early signs of melanoma,” Bitterman explains. “Which seems highly appropriate for the south of France.”