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OMG! IBM makes Watson available via API

IBM didn’t have to flaunt its debatable cloud dominance over Amazon Web Services on the sides of public buses if it wanted to upstage the cloud kingpin at its user conference this week — Big Blue could have just led with the news that its famous, Jeopardy!-champ-destroying Watson system is now available as a cloud service.

That’s right: Developers who want to incorporate Watson’s ability to understand natural language and provide answers need only have their applications make a REST API call to IBM’s new Watson Developers Cloud. “It doesn’t require that you understand anything about machine learning other than the need to provide training data,” Rob High, IBM’s CTO for Watson, said in a recent interview about the new platform.

More on the the details later, but first the big picture. If IBM actually delivers a workable cloud platform around Watson and developers actually take advantage of it to build new, smart applications, it will be a big fricking deal.

via GigaOm.

Using NFC, IBM brings dual-factor authentication to mobile

ZURICH, Switzerland — Banks and major Web sites often combine passwords with people’s phones to offer more secure two-factor authentication when logging onto a service with a PC. But what happens when you’re logging on using a phone?

With a new approach IBM started touting today, NFC, or near-field communications, will fill the void.

NFC wireless links can be used to let people exchange contact information by bumping phones together or to pay for products by waving a phone close to a payment terminal, but it also can be used to enable dual-factor authentication in the mobile device era, said said Diego Ortiz-Yepes, a security and encryption researcher at IBM Research in Zurich.

via CNET News.

IBM researcher can decipher your personality from looking at 200 of your tweets

An IBM researcher says she can make a good educated guess about your personality just from looking at 200 of your Twitter messages.

That may seem obvious, as people typically express their personalities through the 140-character messaging service. But Michelle Zhou, a researcher at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif., can do this personality analysis in a disciplined and automated fashion using the science of data analytics. Companies that pay attention to this research could save hundreds of millions of dollars — and stop annoying people.

She used it on me, and my personality graph, as expressed in my Twitter messages, is in the image above. She evaluated my personality and broke it down into 41 different traits, out of a total of 52 that she measures. The evaluation was based on “psycholinguistics,” or analysis of my word choice.

via VentureBeat.