THE assignment was one of the biggest challenges in the field of artificial intelligence: build a computer smart enough to beat grand champions at the game of "Jeopardy." When I stepped up to lead the team at I.B.M. that would create this computer, called Watson, I knew the task would be formidable. The computer would have to answer an unpredictable variety of complex questions with confidence, precision and speed. And we would put it to the test in a publicly televised "human versus machine" competition against the best players of all time. It was not easy finding people to join the Watson team in the mid-1990s.
This also marks the first year the Masters app is available on wearables like the Apple Watch. As the sport of golf has struggled in recent years to keep growing the game's popularity among young people, many have seen new technology (such as GoPro cameras on the course) as one potential salve. At the same time, some of the most prominent figures in golf have implied they don't want to see the game change to expand to new audiences. Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who owns 18 courses, is of that camp; Tom Watson is not.
IBM and Slack on Wednesday announced they're partnering to add Watson's cognitive computing capabilities to chatbots and other conversational inferences to the Slack platform. To kick off the new partnership, the two companies are updating Slackbot, Slack's customer service bot, with Watson Conversation. The integration should improve its accuracy and trouble-shooting efficiency. This marks the first time Slack, which just surpassed 4 million daily active users, has used artificial intelligence to power the bot. "As an increasing number of functional teams -- from finance, customer support and HR, to recruiting, marketing and sales -- have integrated their workflows into Slack, the degree of leverage we can gain from enhanced cognitive capabilities becomes massive," Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said in a statement.
We are excited to join forces with Slack to host a series of workshops across Europe. These are one-day workshops, focused on making software that improves the workplace. The workshops will begin with API overviews from both companies during which Watson developer advocate Yacine, will dish out some handy tips on getting started quickly with many of the Watson services. We'll then stay to help you brainstorm, scope, and eventually build out your projects. Everyone can expect to walk away with a working prototype built on top of Slack and Watson Developer Cloud APIs.