IBM Exec Talks Watson Platform & Autonomous Cars

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The Vice President of the IBM Watson Internet of Things Platform, Bret Greenstein, recently spoke on the subject of autonomous cars and artificial intelligence systems, like IBM’s “Watson” platform, at UPSHIFT 2016.

IBM Watson Local Motors Self Driving Olli

Amongst other things, Greenstein claimed that eventually people will start to “love” autonomous cars and “form relationships” with them because of technologies like the Watson platform.

For those wondering what this is about, Local Motors utilizes the IBM Watson platform in its ongoing autonomous bus project known as “Olli.”

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Autoblog provides more: “Greenstein’s example was what he has seen with IBM’s collaborative project with Local Motors….The bus shuttles people around, and those passengers can talk to Olli and tell it where they want to go thanks to Watson. When passengers got off of Olli, Greenstein said the passengers were always smiling, which is something he said never happens after someone rides on a traditional bus. The reason, Greenstein said, was not just the novelty of riding an autonomous bus, but because the passengers could chat with it. Now when we heard this, we immediately thought of other things that people could also talk to, like Siri and old versions of Ford Sync, and how frequently they can be frustrating interfaces. When we asked Goldstein, he said the issue with those systems is a lack of depth and recognition.”

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Continuing: “Watson solves that with a variety of capabilities and even the ability to learn your patterns and preferences. Greenstein said that in an autonomous bus application, Watson can ask you what music you’d like to select, or recognize when you’re probably going to work and preload those driving instructions. He even suggested it could warn you if an ex you don’t want to see is planning on getting on that bus.”

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Interesting, if Greenstein’s comments seem a bit exaggerated. I fully expect people to get used to autonomous driving technologies and artificial intelligence systems like Watson fairly rapidly though as they are exposed to them. If someone grows up with such technologies, they will seem normal.


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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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