The most famous Jeopardy! contestant in recent years, of course, the non-human one: Watson, the computer created by IBM, who in 2011 went up against Brad Rutter (the biggest all-time money winner on the show) and Ken Jennings (who has had the longest championship streak) and beat them both, winning $1 million. What's next for Watson, then? A job on Wall Street, of course. His first client is Citigroup, for which he will analyze customer needs and process data.
Beth Jinks of Bloomberg News reports that IBM hopes to make billions in new revenue by "putting Watson to work" "advising Wall Street firms on risks, portfolios, and clients." This is actually not Watson's first job -- he has been working for healthcare clients already -- but it's his most high-profile. And his most Wall-Street manly. As Noreen Malone of New York's Daily Intel imagines, "Sure, at first he’ll probably still spend his weekends gaming or whatever. But soon he’ll be getting drinks on a Friday at Joshua Tree, and talking about that one sorority girl from UVA who’s working in PR and has all those hot friends. He’ll be buying Knicks tickets and bottles at Dream. He’ll be copied on e-mail chains about summer shares in the Hamptons — actually, he’ll probably be the guy organizing the share and tabulating who owes what. (It’s in his nature.)"
Which brings up a few questions. Is Watson, incredibly accurate, possessing a wealth of internal knowledge but absolutely nothing human in attribute, the new, 3.0 breed of Wall Street man? Or is the ideal "Wall Street man" actually just a computer? On the plus side of Watson on Wall Street (aside from the probable movie featuring the comeback of Johnny-Five):
IBM executives say Watson’s skills -- understanding and processing natural language, consulting vast volumes of unstructured information, and accurately answering questions with humanlike cognition -- are also well suited for the finance industry.
Watson can comb 10-Ks, prospectuses, loan performances and earnings quality while also uncovering sentiment and news not in the usual metrics before offering securities portfolio recommendations. It can also monitor trading, news sources and Facebook (FB) to help a treasurer manage foreign exchange risk.
Watson may, however, have some problems in the language and social media departments: "It is weak in languages other than English, and its processing of social media streams from platforms including Facebook and Twitter can be sluggish." And Watson tends to get cranky when you call him "it."
As for how Watson dates, the jury is still out. We'll have to see how that human-like cognition plays out in the bar. Until that moment, let's remember our favorite Watson moments. "What is... leg?"
Also on the plus side: At least Watson has no "fat fingers" to worry about.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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