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Will IBM’s Watson Be a Pioneer of Online Advertising?

David Bosley

It seems like it was ages ago that IBM’s Watson humbled Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter on Jeopardy, but what has our charming AI buddy been up to lately?

The answer? Watson has been getting involved with online advertising.

That’s right, IBM recently announced that Watson-powered ads will launch this fall. These “Watson Ads” will enable consumers to conduct remote brand-related conversations with the super-genius computer via text or voice.

“We believe this will transform advertising,” IBM’s Weather Company global head of sales Jeremy Steinberg told Marketing Land.


Is this the advertising revolution?


Watson Ads and consumers will engage in simple questions and answers. For example, if there is an advertisement for pain relievers, a customer could type, “Is this product safe for children?” and Watson would give the appropriate response? But how can IBM ensure every response will be appropriate?

We witnessed a similar AI-driven initiative earlier this year that wound up as a total debacle. Do you remember Microsoft’s TayTweets? “She” was supposed to be a smart and lovable Twitter bot that served as an experiment for conversational understanding among AI.

However, it didn’t take long for this experiment to fly off the rails. TayTweets was quickly inundated with countless misogynistic and racist comments, which she then started repeating back to users.

Will Watson be smart enough to keep his nose clean?

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