IBM Watson: A Joke?

May 10, 2017

I wanted to ask IBM Watson is it thought the article “IBM’s Watson Is a Joke, Says Social Capital CEO Palihapitiya.” No opportunity. Bummer.

I learned from the real journalism outfit CNBC, which has been known to sell advertising, that:

“Watson is a joke, just to be completely honest,” he said in an interview with “Closing Bell” on the sidelines of the Sohn Investment Conference in New York.

The Social Capital top dog added:

“I think what IBM is excellent at is using their sales and marketing infrastructure to convince people who have asymmetrically less knowledge to pay for something,” Palihapitiya added. “I put them and Oracle in somewhat of the same bucket.”

I like that “asymmetrically less knowledge.” It suggests that the PR firms, the paid consultants who flog the word “cognitive,” and the torrent of odd ball conference talks are smoke and mirrors.

Should one put one’s money into IBM? My reading of the article suggests that the CNBC expert believes that Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are where the action is. What? No Alphabet Google thing?

Several observations:

  1. Describing something in marketing science fiction is fun and can be lucrative. The reality is that Lucene, home brew code, and acquired technology do not add up to a breakthrough in smart software. Sorry, cheerleaders.
  2. Reporting five years of declining revenue puts hyperbole in context. IBM is simply trying to hard to push Watson into everything from recipes to healthcare. The financial reports tell me that the bet is not working.
  3. Creating wild and crazy Super Bowl ads which suggest a maximum refund tips toward carnival marketing. Floating white cubes are just as incomprehensible to me as PT Barnum’s Feejee mermaid.

Perhaps IBM can roll out a TV spot with Mr. Barnum’s Chang and Eng as a spokes-people.

Stephen E Arnold, May 9, 2017


One Response to “IBM Watson: A Joke?”

  1. ???????????? ????????????? on May 13th, 2017 2:56 pm

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    IBM Watson: A Joke? : Stephen E. Arnold @ Beyond Search

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