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August 5, 2014

How IBM’s Watson will help conduct boardroom meetings

Will it allow company executives to discuss business issues with an AI?

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM researchers are working on a new project at the company’s Thomas J. Watson research centre in New York, involving a room where company executives can discuss business issues with a version of artificial intelligent computer system Watson.

MIT Technology Review reported that the system’s ceiling-mounted microphones enable listening for its name and execute commands, all while recording the meeting’s proceedings.

During testing, the super computer provided researchers with a list of companies to acquire, through an internal memo briefing a fake company’s scheme, decision-making algorithms, and a voice command.

Instead of acting just as a notetaker, this version of Watson was able to actively participate in the discussion at hand.

IBM symbiotic cognitive systems director Dario Gil said: "Watson could enhance collective intelligence by facilitating turn taking or by providing a neutral presence that can help prevent groupthink."

IBM’s attempt to integrate a computer system in meetings that can be aware of attendees, follows earlier efforts including the European Union’s attempt to develop ‘meeting browsers’ since 2004.

IBM also used its Watson supercomputer to develop a personal shopper as well as to help US soldiers prepare for post military life.

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