IBM Artificial Intelligence Initiatives & Analysis

This research article covers IBM artificial intelligence projects and gives an general overview of AI.

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Artificial intelligence is the next big thing. It is no longer sci-fi but a tangible reality which is affecting business and the economy, albeit on a limited scale. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, along with others, are already in a corporate arms race to create the next big thing in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Much like the booming growth of the internet in the 90’s, artificial intelligence will improve lives, productivity in business processes, and concurrently the economy in obvious ways, but also in ways that we can’t yet imagine. So where does the average investor not only fit in, but benefit from this? We will discuss where artificial intelligence will make a sizable impact, and the companies that will have a hand in that change.

Overview of Artificial Intelligence

First, some disclaimers. AI is not what it is depicted in Hollywood or popular video games. Computers are dumb and people are smart, especially people who construct hardware systems and program software. When looking to invest based on a company’s ability to contribute to AI systems, be weary of over-exaggeration and too ambitious ideas. Someone, somewhere along the line must create, program, implement, and maintain the systems and algorithms that drive it. However, that makes the best thing about the AI transformation is that it will happen incrementally; it will not be the rapid monster (real) growth that was funneled by the internet. This allows investors to take long positions in companies with already solid foundations as well as new up-and-coming disrupters that have sound and realistic ideas for long term growth.

Over the next several articles, we will take a look at some companies currently investing in artificial intelligence and what the possible impact on the AI industry will be. Through these articles, we will get a glimpse of not only what artificial intelligence is, but what it can be, and how a trader or investor can profit from it. Not only will we examine the most obvious leaders in AI and machine learning (Google, Apple, FB, IBM) but also other small movers in the market; some private. 

Next, we begin with the well-known IBM artificial intelligence software known as Watson.

IBM Endeavors into AI

IBM (NYSE:IBM) has its hand on a vast landscape of goods and services including. These include: cloud computing, cognitive computing, commerce, data and analytics, Internet of Things, IT infrastructure, and mobile. But recently, IBM artificial intelligence development became the company’s focus. This is IBM Watson. Watson is one of the world’s largest and most powerful supercomputers, built for intaking vast amounts of data, sorting it, and extracting something from that data, without the micro-guidance of humans, as programs usually require.

Currently, IBM artificial intelligence work centers around Watson. IBM’s Watson is probably one of the most well-known attempts at AI implementation for any company. Watson is supposed to be built to resemble a human mind in how it processes information. IBM hopes to sell Watson’s capabilities to various businesses spanning virtually every industry, such as law and health, and even to small businesses. For example, healthcare data exploded in the past couple of decades, and most of it is not structured in an efficient manner; Watson Health is able to discover and organize relevant data and provide suggestions to medical personnel. This can be from anything like diagnosing an illness to suggesting a treatment plan.

Practical Applications of IBM Artificial Intelligence Tech

This is where AI technology is so vital. It can think and make decisions much like a good doctor would, except it has access to a tremendous amount of data and can perform more complex calculations than a normal doctor would be able to, at least in theory.

The good news has been that Watson health has been surprisingly accurate, having a high correlation with actual doctor and professional suggestions. Already, IBM artificial intelligence development resulted in teaming up with Illumina to create DNA sequences of cancer cells to find abnormalities and optimal treatments. What used to take months and valuable time not only for the patients, but for doctors, now takes minutes, and creates an extremely economical process.

Watson does not stop at medical exploits. It has its hands on the auto industry, cybercrime, general business data processing. However, there are some who argue that Watson is not all that it is cracked up to be. The Financial Times argued that Watson employs neat tricks but does not solve real-world problems well enough.

What makes Watson great could also be its glaring weakness. Instead of focusing on what made it special in the first place, IBM is attempting to diversify before it conquers any single industry or territory. IBM wants Watson to be a ubiquitous artificial intelligence system. These fears should subside as IBM continues to partner with other companies to implement Watson in real world applications solving practical problems. There is even speculation that IBM will slowly move away from creating hardware and other software products to put more resources into Watson. IBM may bet on Watson to drive future revenue growth.

Final Thoughts on IBM Artificial Intelligence: Watson & Other AI

IBM’s Watson is an extremely ambitious project, but a realistic one. The concerns lay with spreading themselves too thin, and instead of mastering one area of expertise, they provide average-to-possibly-good service in many. Watson could also lead to a transformation of IBM’s business model. It looks like IBM will continue to shift its focus to its cloud services and big data analytics, both of which are vital to improving Watson.

IBM will most likely not be a blockbusting performer in 2017, but it is looking like a sound long-term buy and hold. Therefore, we are adding IBM to our Bullish List within the context of long-term investing.

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