Breakthrough language technology now available for business

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To support people in their daily work, AI must understand human language. The Natural Language Processing advancements achieved in IBM’s Research labs enable computer systems to learn, analyze, and understand human language with great accuracy as it understands sentiments, dialects, intonations, and more. With such insights in hand, organizations can radically improve everything from customer care and transportation, to finance and education.

IBM Watson has just announced new language technology solutions designed to help you begin identifying, understanding and analyzing some of the most challenging aspects of the English language with greater clarity, for greater insights. More languages will be supported later this year.

The new technologies represent the first commercialization of key Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities to come from IBM Research’s Project Debater, the only AI system capable of debating humans on complex topics. For example, a new advanced sentiment analysis feature is defined to identify and analyze idioms and colloquialisms for the first time. Phrases, like ‘hardly helpful,’ or ‘hot under the collar,’ have been challenging for AI systems because they are difficult for algorithms to spot. With advanced sentiment analysis, businesses can begin analyzing such language data with Watson APIs for a more holistic understanding of their real meaning in context. Further, we are also bringing technology from IBM Research for understanding business documents, such as PDF’s and contracts, to also add to their AI models.

IBM Project Debater language technologyNoam Slonim from IBM Research explaining Project Debater capabilities at Cambridge University

Today IBM is announcing that it will integrate Project Debater technologies into Watson throughout the year, with a focus advancing clients’ ability to exploit natural language:

  1. Analysis –Advanced Sentiment Analysis. IBM has enhanced sentiment analysis to be able to better identify and understand complicated word schemes like idioms (phrases and expressions) and so-called, sentiment shifters, which are combinations of words that, together, take on new meaning, such as, “hardly helpful.” This technology will be integrated into Watson Natural Language Understanding this month.
  2. Briefs – Summarization. This technology pulls textual data from a variety of sources to provide users with a summary of what is being said and written about a particular topic. An early version of Summarization was leveraged at The GRAMMYS this year to analyze over 18 million articles, blogs and bios to produce bite-sized insights on hundreds of GRAMMY artists and celebrities. The data was then infused into the red carpet live stream, on-demand videos and photos across to give fans deeper context about the leading topics of the night. It will be added to IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding later in the year.
  3. Clustering – Advanced Topic Clustering. Building on insights gained from Project Debater, new topic clustering techniques will enable users to “cluster” incoming data to create meaningful “topics” of related information, which can then be analyzed. The technique, which will be integrated into Watson Discovery later this year, will also allow subject matter experts to customize and fine-tune the topics to reflect the language of specific businesses or industries, like insurance, healthcare, and manufacturing.
  4. Documents – Customizable Classification of Elements in Business Documents. This technology, which will also be added to Watson Discovery later this year, enables clients to create AI models to more easily classify clauses that occur in such business documents as procurement contracts. Based on Project Debater’s deep learning-based classification technology, the new capabilities can learn from as few as several hundred samples to do new classifications quickly and easily.

DID YOU READ: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing

IBM has long been a leader in NLP, developing technologies that enable computer systems to learn, analyze and understand human language – including sentiment, dialects, intonations, and more – with increasing accuracy and speed. IBM has brought its NLP technology, much of which was born in IBM Research, to market via Watson, such as, Watson Discovery for enterprise search, the IBM Watson Assistant for conversational AI, and Watson Natural Language Understanding for advanced text analytics.

The services will be directly available as an API on IBM Cloud, but can also be deployed on any other cloud or on-premise IT-infrastructure.

If you have any further questions about the breakthrough language technology solutions we offer at IBM, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at

Research & Innovation Executive, IBM Research - IBM Watson

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