IBM’s AI World

Forpianist Marcus Blackwell, math is at the heart of music.

Blackwell, who started playing piano professionally at the age of sixteen, said you can’t play any instrument without understanding math. That “lightbulb moment” helped him overcome his math fears. And it ultimately set him down a road to pursue his B.S. in mathematics at Morehouse College. Now as an entrepreneur and founder of Atlanta-based Make Music Count, he’s on a mission to help more students fall in love with math through music.

Underpinning that effort is IBM’s watsonx assistant, a conversational AI tool.

marcus blackwell

For Blackwell, watsonx has been a key way to scale up the power of his app.

“It provides additional instruction that our lessons don’t currently offer,” he told Hypepotamus. “This is huge for my business. It begins to transition my product from a supplementary tool to a core learning tool which is tremendously more valuable to school districts.”

On top of Make Music Count, Watsonx’s technology has become an integral part of many other startup’s successful tech stack. Alice Crisci, co-founder and CEO of fertility startup Ovum Health and MedAnswers, said IBM’s technology helped her scale FertilityAnswers. The iOS and Android app connects people with health questions to board certified health professionals.

“We knew we needed a solution beyond relying on volunteers forever but we also knew we wanted empathy and trust to be at the forefront of our app experience,” she told Hypepotamus. “We deployed IBM Watson in our platform leveraging one of IBM’s other partners, Datastax, whose RAG and Vector DB stack we deployed to retrieve 90,000 pieces of clinically validated pieces of content seamlessly when a new user asks a question. IBM Watson provided the interface; Datastax provided the retrieval system, and a pre-built integration provided live chat capability, so my users can connect directly with my telehealth clinic’s staff to book patient appointments.”

Crisci added that the technology switch helped her move from serving 70,000 users to dramatically more, and has scaled its work to be in 8 states and in-network with 176 insurance contracts.

IBM’s AI World

When you think about cutting AI technologies, you likely think about a sleek newcomer startup to the market. But IBM, which was founded over 110 years ago, is still leading the technology charge for the emerging technologies. Startups are using the technology to give them a jumpstart into AI. But so too are sports and entertainment events like The Masters and The Grammys.

The tech giant is also thinking about how to design a better AI-enabled world.

Last month, IBM released its Women In AI research study, exploring the current realities of the tech workforce.

The research found that 46% of women are worried that AI-driven automation will replace their current job. Only 37% of men feel the same way.

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IBM’s Kitty Chaney-Reed

Atlanta-based Kitty Chaney-Reed, IBM’s Chief Leadership, Culture and Inclusion Officer, told Hypepotamus she was surprised and “disheartened” by the results. She said it shows that “women don’t necessarily see as clearly as men AI as a differentiator in terms of a competitive advantage” in the workforce.

“We’re at an inflection point when it comes to AI. It can be the difference maker in terms of profitability, effectiveness, productivity within companies,” Chaney-Reed added. “The more articulate you are about the topic…the better contributor you can be. And at the end of the day, I don’t see how anybody can do their job effectively these days without really understanding AI.”

Featured Photo Credit: IBM