Photo of Nova SpivackSerial entrepreneur and thought leader Nova Spivack recently wrote for Gigaom, “When we talk about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), the discussion often focuses on the advancements and capabilities of the technology, or even the risks and opportunities inherent in the potential cultural implications. What we frequently overlook, however, is the future of AI as a business. IBM Watson’s recent acquisition and deployment of Cognea signals an important shift in the AI and intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) market, and offers an indication of both of the potentials of AI as a business and the areas where the market still needs development. The AI business is about to be transformed by consolidation. Consolidation carries real risks, but it is generally a sign of technological maturation. And it’s about time, as AI is no longer simply a side project, or an R&D euphemism. AI is finally center stage.”

The article continues with, “IBM, for all its investment in the Watson platform, was still missing, among other elements, the “personality” — a critical piece of the virtual assistant puzzle. IBM is betting big on Watson overall, to the tune of $1 billion, and is therefore addressing Watson’s weaknesses aggressively. Assembling the complete puzzle is a non-trivial technological challenge and I’m not at all surprised IBM snapped up Cognea. One of the companies I advise, Next IT, has gone to great lengths to create IVA’s with fully-developed personas — ranging from SGT STAR for the U.S. Army to Aetna’s Ann. These IVAs have a tone, a personality, a sense of humor and a vernacular custom-suited to their use cases.”

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