Friday, February 03, 2017
IBM is masterful in marketing its artificial intelligence program called Watson. Now Watson is assisting in completing returns for H&R Block. Watson has already been put to work on helping doctors identify and treat cancer, sell auto insurance, and assist customers in stores among dozens of applications for its silicon brainpower. Watson's initial success was built on its winning Jeopardy several years ago. It was a brilliant publicity stunt that proved the power of the software. Since then, IBM's marketers and engineers have tailored the program for numerous uses. It helps IBM that Watson is anthropomorphic and named after a previous CEO of the corporation. The male voice answering questions during the game show seemed real. It wasn't hard to visualize a brain working in the background. It will be interesting to learn how H&R Block's 70,000 tax preparers use the machine. It is one more example of great PR for the technology.