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I don’t think so!

In the age of cheap, sensational 5 minutes of fame, Chamath Palihapitiya won big this week with his claim that IBM Watson is a joke. Let me get on the bandwagon and try to steal a minute or two.

He argues that IBM Watson is not really advancing machine learning. Is not a technological innovator. Nothing but a formidable marketing machine.

Well I agree that IBM is a formidable marketing machine, only to be outmatched by their corporate boldness and technological innovation.

We’ve been lucky enough to be an IBM Watson developer partner since the early days in 2016. Back then IBM Watson was the best marketplace for commercially ready AI micro-services. 18 months later IBM is the best possible partner a company could ask for – leading micro-services, enterprise grade hosting, heartfelt partner support.

If you call IBM Watson a joke you call the hundreds of companies and startups that have built on it a joke. Is Memorial Sloan Kettering trying to reduce cancer mortality rates (and succeeding at it) a joke? Is H&R Block helping tax professionals and their clients with one of the most complex and cumbersome tax filing processes in the western world (and succeeding at it) a joke?

So has IBM been at the leading edge of innovating ML? I am sadly not qualified to assess that… and neither are you Chamath. What IBM and Watson has been at the leading edge of is providing enterprise grade, commercially ready cognitive services, fully integrated with a top notch cloud and many other services from analytics to support and sales & marketing.

Let me explain to you what that means in the real business world rather than the media graving one you appeal to.

This means that our client Razorfish & Unilever was able to monitor real-time media mentions during the Olympic games in Rio to call out pundits discriminating against female athletes based on their appearance.

This means that our client Time Inc had new stories to tell about who they elected for Person of the Year and why – based on huge, complex amounts of data and new insights gained on them.

This means that our client The Economist & RevSquare are able to optimize digital experiences for readers to increase revenue and keep one of the most important publications in the world relevant.

This means that all of this is possible – at a cost, in a time-frame and with a result that meets the needs of business. Today.

Oh and by the way, the cute little name of our solution is Sia, after the Egyptian god of intellectual energies. Because we like personal names too. No joke!

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