IBM’s question-answering Watson supercomputer is building quite the résumé. First it won a much-publicized showdownagainst the two greatest Jeopardy! champions of all time, then it went to medical school and emerged as a budding oncologist. Now Watson has a new job–as a customer-service agent with the mostest. The help desk is a bit of a step down from fighting cancer, but IBM is nothing if not pragmatic. U.S. organizations spend $112 billion on call center labor and software, yet half of the 270 billion customer-service calls go unresolved each year, presenting a fairly sizable opening for an enhanced cognitive computer. Let’s face it: Rare is the occasion when you a) reach a live person and b) they know what they’re talking about. Why not give silicon a chance?
Watson is learning fast
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