Is IBM Watson A ‘Joke’?
On the May 8th edition of Closing Bell on CNBC, venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya, founder and CEO of Social Capital, created quite a stir in enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) circles, when he took on IBM IBM +1.14% Watson, Big Blue’s AI platform.
“Watson is a joke, just to be completely honest,” Palihapitiya said. “I think what IBM is excellent at is using their sales and marketing infrastructure to convince people who have asymmetrically less knowledge to pay for something.”
IBM quickly parried. “Watson is not a consumer gadget but the A.I. platform for real business. Watson is in clinical use in the U.S. and 5 other countries. It has been trained on 6 types of cancers with plans to add 8 more this year,” IBM told CNBC. “Beyond oncology, Watson is in use by nearly half of the top 25 life sciences companies, major manufacturers for IoT applications, retail and financial services firms, and partners like GM, H&R Block HRB +0.49% and Salesforce.com CRM -0.58%. Does any serious person consider saving lives, enhancing customer service and driving business innovation a joke?”