(Bloomberg News) International Business Machines Corp.'s Watson computer, which beat champions of the quiz show "Jeopardy!" a year ago, will soon be advising Wall Street on risks, portfolios and clients.
Citigroup Inc., the third-largest U.S. lender, is Watson's first financial services client, IBM said last month. It will help analyze customer needs and process financial, economic and client data to advance and personalize digital banking.
IBM expects to generate billions in new revenue by 2015 by putting Watson to work. The technology giant has already sold Watson to health-care clients, helping WellPoint Inc. and Seton Health Family analyze data to improve care. 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.
Financial services is the "next big one for us," said Manoj Saxena, the man responsible for finding work for Watson. IBM is confident that with a little training, the quiz-show star that can read and understand 200 million pages in three seconds can make money for IBM by helping financial firms identify risks, rewards and customer wants mere human experts may overlook.
Watson the financial assistant will be delivered as a cloud-based service and earn a percentage of the additional revenue and cost savings it is able to help financial institutions realize.
Watson "can give an edge" in finance, said Stephen Baker, author of books The Numerati and Final Jeopardy, a Watson biography. "It can go through newspaper articles, documents, SEC filings, and try to make some sense out of them, put them into a context banks are interested in, like risk."
In addition to Citigroup, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has been working with other financial institutions teaching Watson the language of Wall Street, and adding content including regulatory announcements, news and social media feeds.