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In its first steps toward commercialization, IBM’s Watson took on grand, science-laden challenges like helping doctors diagnose cancer. How to install a fence But that is changing as IBM strives to build its artificial intelligence technology into a multibillion-dollar business.

Today, companies including Geico, Staples and Macy’s are adding the Watson technology to answer customer questions or to improve mobile apps that guide shoppers through stores.


Now in its broadest deployment so far, Watson will be assisting H&R Block’s 70,000 tax professionals this filing season at 10,000 branch offices across the country, where 11 million people file taxes.

For IBM, the collaboration with H&R Block underlines its strategy in the emerging market for artificial intelligence technology. Lanscape Watson will touch consumers, but through IBM’s corporate clients.

The embedded-in-business formula is different from the path other technology companies are taking with digital assistants powered by artificial intelligence. Sprinkler world colorado springs Others are pursuing the broad consumer market directly with artificial intelligence software helpers like Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft, Alexa from Amazon and Assistant from Google.

In the corporate technology market, the major companies are racing to get on the artificial intelligence bandwagon, though they lack the early lead and powerful branding of Watson.

Data-fueled artificial intelligence will be an ingredient in all kinds of software used in corporations, to streamline work, identify new customers, spot savings and guide product development, analysts say. Lattice energy equation By 2018, the research company IDC predicts that 75 percent of new business software will include artificial intelligence features.

IBM is also banking on Watson as an engine of its corporate transformation. Dot furniture The company needs its new businesses like Watson, data analysis and cloud computing to more than make up for the erosion in its traditional hardware and software products.

IBM executives noted that the company’s newer businesses, including Watson, grew by 14 percent to represent 41 percent of total revenue. Francesca battistelli songs list That was before IBM’s previous forecast that the 40 percent of revenue threshold would not be reached until 2018.

The H&R Block collaboration suggests that IBM is getting better at working with partners. Pitch definition Some of the early Watson projects stretched out for years partly because of poor communications between IBM and its clients.

But when Bill Cobb, chief executive of H&R Block, contacted IBM last summer, saying he wanted to use Watson to help “reinvent the retail experience for taxpayers,” he heard what he called a candid assessment, not a sales pitch.

Watson proved to be a quick learner. Softball rules and regulations Its core skill is its ability to digest and classify vast amounts of text, using what is known as natural language processing. How to pitch a reality show So, among other things, it was fed the 74,000 pages of the federal tax code and thousands of tax-related questions culled from H&R Block’s data, accumulated over six decades of preparing tax returns.

Then, H&R Block tax professionals were brought in to “train” Watson. Chicago cubs spring training 2016 They approved when Watson suggested a smart question for a particular tax filer and corrected it when a proposed question was off base. High pitched voice The tax professionals were not told they were working with Watson, just a software program.

The technology was tested in about 100 H&R Block offices in January and is now available throughout the company’s retail network. Board on board fence One goal, Cobb said, is to assist H&R Block’s tax professionals and improve their chances of fairly increasing refunds and reducing tax liabilities for clients. Softball chants Seventy-five percent of Americans who file taxes get money back. Frances bavier images For H&R Block clients, the figure is about 85 percent, Cobb said.

But Watson’s other task was to make visiting H&R Block a more “engaging and interactive” experience, he said. Landscaping with rocks Clients will be able to watch suggestions and questions on a separate screen, as the Watson-assisted tax professional works.

Cobb said he was “very pleased” with Watson’s performance in the 100-office trial. Pro landscape supply But the test will come after this tax season, when H&R Block sees what percentage of customers return next year.

Over time, Watson’s suggestions get better and better, more individually tailored to specific occupations, household finances and personal circumstances. Frances bean cobain “It’s crawl, walk, run learning,” Kenny said. Baseball field vector “But the pace of the Watson learning is so much faster than humans.”

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