What we learned from this week's Monday Night Football: IBM's "Watson" computer is highly advanced, but not advanced enough that it can impress Bob Dylan with its singing skills.
The 30-second ad, which premiered during the Lions-Seahawks game, features the Minnesota-born music legend sitting down for a chat with Watson, whose "cognitive technologies" are the subject of IBM's new marketing campaign. Have a look:
Dylan seems charmed that the artificial intelligence system has analyzed all his lyrics and decided that his "major themes are that time passes and love fades”: "That sounds about right," the singer-songwriter admits.
Of course, Watson has a ways to go before being able to sing a duet with Dylan, as the commercial's humorous final moments show.
So, what does Watson's lyric-analyzing prowess have to do with its so-called cognitive technologies, and IBM's new marketing effort?
According to Direct Marketing, the company is attempting to show the business world that Watson is more than a novelty – it's a supercomputer with the ability to scan and make sense of mountains of digital information to "to help marketers chisel nuanced customer profiles."
Says IBM: The "staggering amount of information" that humans create – from poetry to social media correspondence – has been, up to this point, "invisible to computers," a problem that Watson's cognitive technologies have solved.
"Watson can bring cognition to everything and everyone," the company promises. "To evolve in this data-driven culture, every business will need to become a cognitive business."
Ken Jennings, the Jeopardy! champion whom Watson famously beat in a round of the NBC gameshow, is featured reuniting with the machine in another lighthearted TV spot similar to Dylan's: