Developed by IBM, Watson is an AI question-answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language. It was named after IBM's first CEO, Thomas J. Watson.
The AI system was initially developed to answer questions on the quiz show Jeopardy and eventually ended up winning first place against previous champions of the show.
In recent years, the Watson capabilities have been extended and the way in which Watson works has been changed. It has evolved machine learning capabilities and optimised hardware available to developers and researchers. It’s no longer purely a question-answering (QA) computing system designed from Q&A pairs but can now 'see', 'hear', 'read', 'talk', 'taste', 'interpret', 'learn' and 'recommend'.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has used Watson to create its own digital assistant, able to answer over 5,000 customer queries a day (completing over 70% of these interactions without human intervention), whilst an online therapy platform use Watson’s cognitive computing and self-learning capabilities to support the decision-making capacity of the therapists.