New York • International Business Machines is putting its Watson natural-language technology to the test with consumers on a wide scale for the first time.
On the website of financial-services firm USAA, military customers will be able to use IBM's tool to ask questions and seek advice on transitioning back to civilian life. Famous for being a "Jeopardy!" game-show champion, Watson analyzes information and can answer questions in conversational English.
The USAA deal gives IBM its biggest test yet of whether consumers will embrace Watson, a technology that's become a bigger focus of the company's investments and marketing. IBM sees data analytics tools like Watson as a source of growth to counter declining demand for hardware that has led to nine straight quarters of falling sales.