IBM’s AI system Watson just edited an entire magazine all on its own

While the rise of artificial intelligence has caused more and more people to believe robots may one day make their jobs obsolete, those specializing in creative careers have always felt their skills could never be replicated by a mere computer program. Unfortunately, this feeling of assurance has taken a hit from IBM and a marketing company called The Drum, who have announced that Watson — of Jeopardy! fame — can officially add the distinction of “magazine editor” to its résumé. That’s right, the brainy computer program that went toe-to-toe with Ken Jennings just edited an entire magazine all on its own. In other words, we’re doomed.

According to a press release published via The Drum, the magazine edited by Watson consists of a variety of features that cover Watson’s different analytical functions, as well as how it can assist modern-day marketers. Moreover, The Drum reports that Watson has also been programmed to have the ability to answer a series of questions pertaining to “advertising legend” David Olgivy. and has even predicted a list of winners for this year’s Cannes Lions awards.

The Drum newsroom while Watson edited its magazine
The Drum newsroom while Watson edited its magazine The Drum

“The Drum was given the opportunity to play with the IBM Watson system to help create this issue and, as a result, much of our content benefits from artificial intelligence,” said The Drum’s editor-in-chief, Gordon Young. “You can judge for yourself whether that is better than our normal intelligence, but rest assured our team wasn’t quite as relaxed as our cover might suggest. Many thanks to Watson and the IBM team for giving us an insight into the possibilities of this amazing technology, which we believe will help change the world — as we hope some of this issue’s features will attest.”

So, should this signal the end of human magazine editors as we know it? Not likely, though Watson’s stint with The Drum does show the kind of computing potential artificial intelligence is capable of. Speaking on the future of IBM Watson, program chief David Kenny said he hopes to one day see Watson ask humans questions and to develop abductive reasoning as opposed to deductive skills. It’s this path, Kenny feels, that will lead AI to achieve truly revolutionary cognitive ability — however unsettling that may seem to some.

The Drum offers subscriptions to its magazine via its website, though it is offering free access to the Watson-edited edition to anyone who downloads its app via Apple’s App Store or through Google Play.

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