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IBM-Watson
Ken Jennings, Watson and Brad Rutter on Jeopardy. Photo Credit: IBM.

IBM announced today that it’s opening up partnerships for developers to work with Watson, its Jeopardy-winning supercomputer. What made it possible for Watson to beat Jeopardy champions like Seattle’s Ken Jennings wasn’t just its processing power, but its ability to learn from natural language.

Now, it’s possible for companies to harness that capability by partnering with IBM to combine Watson’s capabilities with their applications through a new API. Working with Watson isn’t as easy as starting up an instance and just running a bunch of API calls, though. A developer first has to apply for access, and if they’re approved, IBM will give them sandboxed access to Watson for testing their application.

IBM has already let a few companies try out what they’re able to do with Watson, and the results have been impressive, if unsurprising. Fluid created a personal shopping app that uses Watson’s conversational capabilities to provide recommendations to consumers, while Welltok has created a personal health and fitness coaching app that helps users reach their personal wellness goals, without requiring them to have face-to-face meetings with a human trainer.

There’s no official word on how much it costs to work with Watson. Here’s a flowchart that shows the process of building an app with the Watson API.

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