IBM Is Counting on Its Bet on Watson, and Paying Big Money for It

By STEVE LOHROctober 17, 2016Watson, can you grow into a multibillion-dollar business and become the engine of IBM’s resurgence?IBM is betting its future that the answer is yes. Its campaign to commercialize Watson, the company’s version of artificial intelligence technology, stands out, even during the current A.I. frenzy in the tech industry.IBM has invested billions of dollars in its Watson business unit, created at the start of 2014, which now employs an estimated 10,000 workers. Its big-ticket marketing push includes clever television ads that feature Watson trading quips with famous people like Serena Williams and Bob Dylan. And Watson, after a slow start, has shown its mettle by assisting in daunting tasks like diagnosing cancer.Yet industry experts question how quickly IBM can build a business around Watson. “IBM has pursued big, bespoke…


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