IBM Watson Plays Know-It-All at US Tennis Open

09/12/2017 10:01 am ET Updated Sep 12, 2017
IBM Watson

IBM’s​ ​Watson​ ​​eats​ ​data​ ​for​ ​breakfast,​ ​lunch​ ​and​ ​dinner.​ ​We’ve​ ​seen​ ​it​ ​play​ ​chess,​ ​diagnose rare​ ​diseases,​ ​drive​ ​cars,​ ​identify​ ​faces​ ​and​ ​spot​ ​irregularities​ ​in​ ​the​ ​world​ ​of​ ​finance.​ ​Its​ ​latest trick?​ ​​ ​Watson​ ​was​ ​front​ ​and​ ​center​ ​at​ ​the​ ​Tennis​ ​Open.​ ​It’s​ ​all​ ​over​ ​now,​ ​but​ ​Watson​ ​played​ ​a starring​ ​role​ ​that​ ​we’ll​ ​probably​ ​be​ ​seeing​ ​for​ ​some​ ​time​ ​to​ ​come.

Every​ ​time​ ​you​ ​watched​ ​a​ ​video​ ​clip​ ​showcasing​ ​the​ ​game’s​ ​highlights,​ ​those​ ​highlights​ ​were selected​ ​by​ ​Watson.​ ​When​ ​fans​ ​in​ ​the​ ​stands​ ​could​ ​talk​ ​to​ ​their​ ​smartphones​ ​and​ ​​ask ​if​ ​Nadal​ ​was playing​ ​that​ ​day,​ ​or​ ​where​ ​the​ ​best​ ​restaurant​ ​was,​ ​Watson​ ​was​ ​behind​ ​that​ ​too.​ ​​ ​Finally​, ​Watson provided​ ​data​ ​on​ ​top​ ​of​ ​data​ ​--​ ​twelve​ ​years​ ​of​ ​it​ ​--​ ​comparing​ ​​ ​players’​ ​performance,​ ​real-time scores,​ ​stats​ ​and​ ​insights​ ​for​ ​all​ ​live​ ​and​ ​completed​ ​matches,​ ​all​ ​available​ ​to​ ​fans​ ​everywhere.

The​ ​headlining​ ​trick​ ​was​ ​what​ ​IBM​ ​is​ ​calling​ ​Cognitive​ ​Highlights,​ ​the​ ​pieces​ ​of​ ​technology​ ​that detect​ ​and​ ​then​ ​auto-curate​ ​highlights​ ​of​ ​a​ ​match.​ ​​ ​IBM​ ​says​ ​that​ ​Watson​ ​can​ ​“recognize​ ​what an​ ​important​ ​moment​ ​in​ ​a​ ​match​ ​looks​ ​like.”​ ​To​ ​do​ ​this​, ​they​ ​create​ ​algorithms​ ​to​ ​detect​ ​and analyze​ ​everything​ ​from​ ​the​ ​sound​ ​of​ ​the​ ​crowd​ ​(cheering)​ ​to​ ​the​ ​player’s​ ​gestures​ ​and facial​ ​expressions.​ ​They​ ​also​ ​look​ ​for​ ​strategic​ ​moments​ ​in​ ​a​ ​match,​ like​ ​breakpoints.​ ​I​ ​can’t imagine​ ​that​ ​a​ ​few​ ​epic​ ​moments​ ​go​ ​by​ ​unnoticed,​ ​or​ ​that​ ​this​ ​year’s​ ​highlights​ ​may​ ​have​ ​an improbable​ ​number​ ​of​ ​fist​ ​bumps,​ ​but​ ​Watson​ ​replaces​ ​the​ ​40​ ​freelancers​ ​previously​ ​hired​ ​for the​ ​job.​ ​And​ ​does​ ​it​ ​in​ ​a​ ​fraction​ ​of​ ​the​ ​time.

Known​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​bit​ ​of​ ​a​ ​gadfly​ ​when​ ​it​ ​comes​ ​to​ ​publicity,​ ​Watson​ ​seems​ ​to​ ​be​ ​basking​ ​in​ ​the stadium​ ​lights​ ​now.​ ​Next​ ​up,​ ​it’s​ ​on​ ​to​ ​​Atlanta,​ ​where​ ​​IBM​​ helps to ​power​ ​the 360-degree fan experience at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium.​ ​The​ ​smarter​ ​stadium​ ​will​ ​feature​ ​Watson​ ​apps, as well as the​ ​Halo​ ​scoreboard​ ​​supported​ ​by​ ​4,000​ ​miles​ ​of​ ​Fiber​ ​Optics​ ​and​ ​90 miles​ ​of​ ​audio​ ​cabling​ ​(enough​ ​to​ ​go​ ​from​ ​Frankfurt​ ​to​ ​New​ ​York).

When’s​ ​the​ ​Super Bowl?

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
CONVERSATIONS