GM latest partner for IBM Watson

Nov. 1, 2016

General Motors and IBM last week announced a partnership to combine OnStar and IBM Watson to create OnStar Go, which IBM calls “…the auto industry’s first cognitive mobility platform.” Starting in early 2017, OnStar will deliver personalized content through the dashboard and other digital channels supported by the OnStar Go ecosystem.

Concurrent with the announcement, The Wall Street Journal’s editor in chief, Gerard Baker, interviewed IBM chairman and chief executive, Virginia Rometty. In their exchange, Rometty described OnStar Go as customized and tailored—it can remind you to pick up a prescription, can order coffee for you, and “…it gets smarter and smarter…” from all its interactions with you.

When Baker suggests the OnStar deal puts Watson more directly in consumers’ hands, Rometty agrees, noting that Watson is available as a platform that anyone can build on. She cites examples ranging from Medtronic diabetes products that can help predict hypoglycemia to something called Watson Beat that helps music producers produce hits.

She describes the concept as man and machine together—“It’s this idea, augmented intelligence. Not artificial intelligence.”

Baker notes that IBM is gaining 40% of its revenue through cognitive and cloud computing, to which Rometty responds, “You can’t define yourself by a product…We do define ourselves as working on the most challenging business and societal problems.”

Rometty also comments on jobs, saying, “Every era of technology has had an impact on jobs. Whatever this era will be called, it puts a premium on education, and not just higher education. With less education you still have to have math and technical skills to be able to live in this world. There are many things we can do about it.”

For a look at industrial applications of Watson, see “ADLINK, IBM, Intel bring IoT talks to Boston, preview Vortex Edge PMQ.”

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