UPDATED 15:03 EDT / OCTOBER 26 2016


Behind the scenes of machine learning, AI and APIs | #ibmwow

IBM Watson, a machine learning platform, has been traditionally trained on a bank of questions, but when it comes to recommendations, no such bank of questions exists. “We can’t train Watson on every question possible when the users can ask anything,” said Pietro Mazzoleni, program director of Marketing Technology and Innovation at IBM Research.

He explained that training is needed for both Watson and the users themselves, as users learn how to express to Watson what they need in order to create more personalized sessions. Over time, the feedback will improve Watson’s suggestions. Watson also needs a secondary database with more colloquial speech so that it can translate natural language and understand what the user was actually asking.

Mazzoleni and Joe Francis, lead architect for Midsized Events at IBM Corp., were interviewed by Dave Vellante (@dvellante), host of theCUBE*, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during IBM World of Watson 2016 in Las Vegas, NV.

Defining roles

The team created an app specifically for IBM World of Watson, designed to help attendees discover what sessions they should attend and how to build their schedule. The team for this app included 20 people, 10 full-time and 10 regularly on-call. Part of its success was determined by clearly defining and dividing roles.

“We had three UI designers working with UX designer. … On the back-end we had an API system,” said Francis. The APIs received information from the external management system, and every piece became part of the overall structure. Perspectives from the business end of things, too, played an important but often forgotten role on developing the technology, added Mazzoleni.

Building trust with users

IBM is in the process of asking itself many questions centered on rapport and trust with its customers.

“How do you make a qualitive structure that is trusted by the user? … How can a user build trust on a digital environment?” said Mazzoleni.

For those who would like to try it out for themselves, visit ibm.com, scroll down, and click “Chat with Watson.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM World of Watson 2016.

*Disclosure: IBM and other companies sponsor some IBM World of Watson segments on SiliconANGLE Media’s theCUBE. Neither IBM nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.

Photo by SiliconANGLE

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