IBM Watson snaps up artificial intelligence firm Cognea

Will the acquisition make it possible for supercomputer Watson to hold conversations with us?

IBM Watson has acquired Cognea, an artificial intelligence startup with the technology to transform Watson in to a conversation-happy virtual assistant.

IBM Watson, the unit behind the famous supercomputer Watson which starred on quiz show Jeopardy and beat multiple champions, announced the acquisition via a blog post on Monday.

Cognea develops virtual assistants from "suit-and-tie formal to kid-next-door friendly," and IBM says the acquisition fits in to the "cognitive era of computing" -- a future where people will hold conversations naturally with computers, a concept far beyond our software assistants like Siri.

Michael Rhodin, senior vice president of IBM Watson Group, said:

"We believe this focus on creating depth of personality, when combined with an understanding of the users' personalities will create a new level of interaction that is far beyond today's "talking" smartphones."

The cofounders of Cognea, Liesl Capper and John Zakos, will join IBM alongside other Cognea staff.

In January, IBM unveiled the Watson Group, a unit focused on researching artificial intelligence and its uses within the enterprise. At the time, IBM said it would invest $1 million within the group, as well as invest millions in venture capital for startups focused on artificial intelligence.

Read on: TechCrunch

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