If you haven't been keeping up to date on IBM Watson since the supercomputer beat "Jeopardy" champion Ken Jennings in 2011, Watson's been really busy. We recently told you that Watson is showing up in pharmacies, for instance.
It can alert you to diseases that you may be at risk for, based on your medical records and your fitness tracker's stats. Plus, IBM created a business unit specifically for Watson, and opened up a New York City headquarters.
Watson has a lot of potential applications. It uses natural language processing and can understand grammar and the contextual meaning of a question. In short, it's a supercomputer crammed with information on a topic, including websites and white papers. It then learns to recognize question-answer patterns related to that topic. (See video next page.)
Now, Watson's smarts are being put to a timely use: helping you do your Christmas and Hanukkah shopping. Watson, it turns out, is now an iOS shopping app, too. It's called IBM Watson Trend.
IBM Watson Trend predicts which toys, health products, tech gadgets and more will be popular. It can also tell you if a product will be a short-lived fad that you might soon regret buying.
Watson Trend evaluates millions of online reviews, blogs, social media comments and Internet articles, and more, to gauge which products are trending. Watson also takes into account the personality of the person doing the commenting, by analyzing that person's use of words.
So, how will IBM Watson Trend help you this shopping season? The app will tell you which products are hot, including by region, and by the type of person you're shopping for, like a man or a woman. Watson also includes a brief rationale for why it's suggesting that gift.
Can you guess which products are hot this season? Trending gifts include Hello Barbie, "Star Wars" Legos and Nike shoes. Some of the hottest gifts, though, are Apple Watch and Samsung TVs. (Not sure which TV to buy this season? Check out this exclusive Komando TV Buying Guide.)