Watson - ? - Profit

by Volker Weber


This is John Paul Benini, and he was one of the most interesting people I met last week at CeBIT. How did that happen? Marie-Ann asked me "did you see the Dino?" And I did not. So she hooked me up with John and he explained what the Dino is all about.

IBM has Watson and Watson is the most advanced cognitive computing engine there is. Now IBM has to figure out what to do with Watson beyond winning Jeopardy. One of the things they did was a Mobile Developers Challenge. Elemental Path won this challenge. And they want to bring this Dino to market before Xmas.

Elemental Path started a Kickstarter campaign for CogniToys to get in touch with interested people. What you see in the photo above with John is a very early prototype.

So what is the Dino going to do? It is going to be toy that speaks to a child, answers all or most of his questions. The child presses the big button on its belly and the Dino will listen. It connects to Watson over Wifi and will speak Watsons answer. There is a dialog engine developed my Elemental Path and a body of knowledge within Watson. The Dino knows what it has spoken about and will store its state in an encrypted cloud storage. Think of it as a computerized Montessori teacher. There is parental supervision and you can rule out certain topics you don't want your child to discuss, even if they are in the body of knowledge. The Dino will divert those questions with an answer like "I don't know. Ask Mommy."

I see a lot of potential in these connected toys. And I can see people going batshit crazy about supposedly bad parenting.


THAT is really cool.

And I agree with you 100% about the parenting.

Gregg Eldred, 2015-03-26 23:56

Sounds very similar to the personal assistants that Google, Microsoft, and Amazon offer, only targeted at kids. I've wondered when IBM would try and take Watson in that direction.

So I get that Google, MS, and Amazon see revenue either by pushing products or advertising in the results that are returned from the questions asked. I'm wondering what the profit angle is for IBM in Dino? Does the toy company pay a flat fee per unit, or does the owner have to pay a subscription fee to use Dino on a monthly basis?

This is the point where I should insert a freemium joke, but I'll refrain. :)

Tom Duff, 2015-03-27 00:04

"I don't know. Ask the Dino."

Dreams come true ;-)

Oliver Regelmann, 2015-03-27 01:10

Hello Barbie 2.0? Spannend. Würde ich gerne mal mit rumspielen. Meinen Kindern würde ich es allerdings nicht lassen. IBM muss nicht wissen, was Kinder in Ihren Kinderzimmern treiben. ;)

Johannes Matzke, 2015-03-27 06:16

Wenn Deine Kinder kein Amerikanisch können, dann klappt das sowieso nicht. Und nein, Englisch reicht nicht. Und für Dich taugt es auch nicht. Du bist zu alt.

Volker Weber, 2015-03-27 07:35

Sehr, sehr cool - und grundlegend finde ich den Weg, Watson einem breiten Publikum mit verschiedensten Anwendungsbereichen zugänglich zu machen sehr gut, I like!

Bin gespannt, wann es davon eine Management Edition gibt - so zur Entscheidungsfindung der nächsten Business Cases - "I don't know - ask the Dino!"

Matthias Lorz, 2015-03-27 09:29

Bei der Computerwoche gibt es einen Artikel inkl. Videointerview mit John Paul Benini, in dem auch der Dino zu Wort kommt:


Hans-Peter Kuessner, 2015-03-27 09:45

There's also an interesting article on arstechnica explaining how this is not only coming to toys.


Max Nierbauer, 2015-03-27 10:11

Great idea in the first run, but of cause (hey I am a German) there is the privacy problem, but my greatest concerns are about the pedagogical approach. It makes a big difference if you have to explain a matter to a 2 years or 10 years old child.
I am quite confident that Watson will be able to find the right answer but I am in doubt that Watson is able to explain it to the questioner the way it needs to be told.

If I would have to provide a business case for Watson, I would like to get answers/Solutions for my PMRs by Watson instead of IBM Support ;-)

Christian Henseler, 2015-03-27 19:31

Christian, take the time to watch the 5 minute video. Even if you don't, you can assume that this is neither for a 2 year old than for a 10 year old child. And yes, it adapts, not only to the age but also to the individual.

Volker Weber, 2015-03-28 22:47

Once the dino can explain things to kids, it will work also quite decent in the office.

Patrick Bohr, 2015-04-12 10:21

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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