The Wall Street Journal recently did an interview with IBM’s President, Chairman and Chief Executive, Virginia Rometty about the changes that the world-wide-known tech-company is going through.

Wall Street Journal’s Editor in Chief, Gerard Baker started off by asking about IBM Watson’s new deal with GM about introducing the Watson technology into OnStar, outlining how this works and how it will change the driving experience for its consumers.

Ms Rometty explains that the new technology is very customised and how it learns from your behaviour. “Everything from reminding you to pick up your child’s prescription on the way home, to it knows your coffee, it orders it for you, and it gets smarter and smarter from all these interactions. This will roll out with 2017 cars”, she told WSJ.

Looking at its access to everyone, WSJ’s Mr Baker asks whether the OnStar deal now makes Watson’s applications more accessible for the customers, and whether this is a plan they intend on expanding on in the future.

Ms Rometty explains how they wish to move away from calling it artificial intelligence, but making it augmented intelligence, thinking of man and machine together. She mentions how Watson is available as a platform, accessible for anyone who wishes to use it, with dozens of things available.

As this industry is evolving at a very high pace, Mr Barker asks whether Ms Rometty believes that IBM is able to keep up with the pace?

“I keep repeating, remember, we run 80% of the airline operations that are out there”, Rometty said. “We run almost all the major banks of the world. Those are not high-growth businesses, but those are important businesses that we’ll do, and bring this to it”. She mentions how many tech-companies are temporary, whereas IBM has been around for 105 years, emphasising how persistence is key in this industry.

Touching on the rather sensitive topic of ethics in terms of artificial intelligence, Ms Rometty addresses the main concern raised – whether or not people will lose their jobs to AI.

“Every era of technology has had an impact on jobs”, she says. “Whatever this era will be called, it puts a premium on education, and not just higher education. With less education you still have to have math and technical skills to be able to live in this world. There are many things we can do about it”.

She mentions how such as superintelligent machines have become a matter of concern for many, which she believes is due to people talking about unsupervised learning, which is yet to be solved. IBM’s ‘Watson’ is trained, supervised learning, Ms Rometty said. ”

“If you gave these systems data and just said, “Be a doctor,” it wouldn’t be possible. They have to be trained”.

This highlights the point made that artificial intelligence needs human assistance to develop, and without that, it will not pose any serious threat as we are the ones in charge of developing it.

To read the whole interview, go to: http://www.wsj.com/articles/ibms-big-bet-on-artificial-intelligence-1477880160

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