During her keynote address at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona IBM CEO Ginny Rometty invited developers to join it preparing for the “third, cognitive era” by creating mobile apps for its artificial intelligence (AI) engine Watson.
Watson is an AI computer system capable of answering and interpreting questions in human languages, and was originally used on the US quiz show Jeopardy! In 2011 where it competed and won against former world champions.
Since then IBM experts have been training Watson to “absorb” and learn in other areas such as medical, travel and education, according to Rometty.
The technology giant has since set up a whole Watson division this January, is “moving ahead aggressively” in this cognitive era of technology, she said.
Rometty described the invitation as the “Watson Mobility Challenge” – a global competition to encourage developers to spread cognitive computing apps into the market. IBM will invest in the winning developers to help them scale and commercialise their apps. “We want to test the world on the art of what is possible,” she added.
She went on to talk about the disruptive effect technologies are having on every industry, and that disruption itself can either be a company’s biggest advantage or biggest disadvantage.
She hailed data, cloud and engagement as the three trends which are reshaping and redefining the technology industry. “Data is the natural resource of the 21st century, just like electricity was in previous eras.
“But data will be the competitive advantage in every industry and be what distinguishes the winners from the losers," she added.
Three winners will join the Watson Ecosystem Program. The winners will work with IBM's recently launched global consulting practice, IBM Interactive Experience to receive design consulting and support from IBM experts to develop a viable commercial app.