IBM Watson Is Versatile: Covid Economic Predictions

June 4, 2020

Ah, Watson, so versatile! Now IBM’s famous AI platform, in conjunction with marketing firm Wunderman Thompson, is helping communities cope with the repercussions of the covid-19 pandemic. SearchEnterpriseAI reports on “Using Data And IBM AI to Make Coronavirus Economic Predictions.” Writer Mark Labbe tells us about the Risk, Readiness, and Recovery map:

“The platform, released May 21, uses Wunderman Thompson’s data, as well as machine learning technology from IBM Watson, to predict state and local government COVID-19 preparedness and estimated economic recovery timetables for businesses and governments. … A global marketing subsidiary of British multinational communications firm WPP plc, Wunderman Thompson has collected thousands of data elements on 270 million people in the U.S, including transaction, demographic and health data. That data, which is anonymized, led the company to understand the potential economic impact of the coronavirus quickly.”

The firm has its own technology division, which developed the platform with Watson’s machine learning tech. The two companies had begun working together about this time last year. Labbe describes this latest collaboration:

“The platform, as the name suggests, focuses on three areas:

1. Risk. Health conditions, COVID-19 and census.

2. Readiness. Health support within communities.

3. Recovery. The impact of COVID-19 on the economy.

“Risk identifies how much a given local government organization or zip code area in the U.S. is at risk from COVID-19. Readiness, meanwhile, identifies how prepared an area is by looking at its hospital and intensive care unit availability, and Recovery identifies how economically affected local areas are, how fast they might recover and when they might return to normal.”

A free version of the platform is available, while the full product is being sold to governments and enterprises. The key selling point is the localized predictions which, we’re told, will vary widely even from one county to the next. Was Watson consulted to determine the economic impact of IBM’s recent round of terminations?

Cynthia Murrell, June 4, 2020

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