Watson Has a New Job

You may or may not have heard of Watson by IBM. In case you haven’t heard of it, IBM Watson is a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. Basically, it can be asked questions and will give back answers. The way it works is it [Watson] analyzes unstructured data to present an answer or solution. Watson is able to understand complex questions, grammar and context, and will evaluate all of the possible meanings to determine what is being asked. A question is submitted to Watson, it then searches millions of documents, collects evidence using a scoring algorithm that rates the quality of the evidence. Once this is done, it ranks the possible answers based on the score of the evidence. Finally, it gives you an answer or solution to your question. Sound complicated? It kind of is. However, it is put to good use. It is currently being used in work to battle cancer and cybercriminals, but Watson just landed a new job with Macy’s. It will be called Macy’s On-Call. Since most people have their smartphone with them while shopping, Macy’s is taking advantage of this to improve their customer’s experience. Macy’s On-Call will give shoppers the ability to ask Watson questions regarding a store’s products, services, and facilities by typing in their question. The question will be delivered through location-based software Satisfi, who is an IBM partner, which will access Watson from the cloud. The cool part? It is customized to each individual store. You can ask “where are the shoes?” or “INC dresses.” It will give you specific directions on where that item is located or more information about an item. Macy’s On-Call will use machine learning which evolves over time, so the more you use it, the more it learns about what you want/like/need. The long term goal is to integrate it into the Macy’s app. Technology that makes shopping easier is always a good idea.

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