SoftBank Will Help IBM’s Watson Learn Japanese


Watson, the IBM-developed artificial intelligence computer system, isn’t content with just being a Jeopardy winner, powering healthcare analytics, or making big data easier to understand. Now the overachiever is also studying Japanese.

IBM and Tokyo-based telecom giant/conglomerate/investor SoftBank announced today that they will team up to train Watson in Japanese. This is part of an ongoing effort to turn Watson into a polyglot; in addition to Japanese, IBM has said that it will also learn other languages including Spanish and Portuguese, which will help bring services powered by the supercomputer to new markets.

Once Watson learns Japanese, IBM and SoftBank (which owns Sprint and Yahoo! Japan and is a major investor in Alibaba) will market its products to education, banking, healthcare, insurance, and retail companies in Japan. In a statement, the two companies said they began collaborating on Watson’s Deep QA technology, which allows…

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