back to article It's come to this for IBM: Watson is now a gimmick app on the iPhone

Remember when IBM's Watson was touted as a revolutionary machine learning platform that would help revolutionize the medical, science and business intelligence fields? Big Blue's expensive pet project has been showcased as a solution for everything from biomedical research to solving poverty to killing the spreadsheet. Now, …

  1. Frumious Bandersnatch

    "kids like legos"

    It's "Lego", not "Legos".

    1. The First Dave

      Re: "kids like legos"

      And it would be wrong in the original language too.

    2. Vector

      Re: "kids like legos"

      It's "Lego", not "Legos".

      It seems as if you read just the question and not the highly accepted answer which rightly points out that people, not companies, determine the course of the English language.

      Contrary to the LEGO Groups' desires, "legos" is a commonly used and long accepted term for a set of LEGO bricks.

  2. Peter27x


    It is never "Legos", English grammar doesn't allow you to randomly append an 's' like that. i.e. Kids (and adults) play with Lego, not "Legos". If you had two friends called Stephen, you would say I'm going to meet Stephens tonight would you?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      That depends : what game are you going to play with your Stephens ?

    2. roeltz

      Re: Arggggggg

      Wouldn't they be "Stevens"?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Arggggggg

        There's a Steevens Lane outside here, perhaps they play in the street.

    3. killakrust

      Re: Arggggggg

      Hey Watson! What is the plural of 'Lego"?

    4. Stuart 22 Silver badge

      Re: Arggggggg

      "If you had two friends called Stephen, you would say I'm going to meet Stephens tonight would you?"

      'Even Stevens'? 'Even Steven' means something else for us phonetically challenged folks ;-)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Arggggggg

      But might you say "I'm going to meet with the Stephens"?

    6. Graham 32

      Re: Arggggggg

      But if Lego were a supermarket...

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge


    Since people like us have been aware of Watson for a while, it's a sensible marketing department that aims its advert at people who aren't like us.

    Besides, I can imagine what sort of questions Reg readers might ask of Watson if given a go - I doubt the answers would be suitable for broadcast television commercials.

  4. Diogenes

    Can Watson answer the big questions in life ?

    "Do these pants make my b*m look big?"

    "If a man speaks , and no woman hears him, is he still wrong?"

    "I know one my friend's boyrfriend is cheating on her, should I tell her?"

    "How does IBM monentise the Watson app?"

  5. Mark 85 Silver badge

    I think they could monetize this by partnering with Google. That should turn IBM's fortunes around.

    1. Ken 16

      You mean give the products away free

      and sell the advertising? IBM have been doing it the wrong way around for 100 years.

  6. Putters

    Maybe I'm reading to much into this

    There's a tendency with results like "kids like lego" to dismiss them as obvious - especially in Headlines, but generally such results are actually just some hacks over simplistic summary. Similar to "Sugar makes you fat" - well, Duh, yes, but the interesting part is "how much sugar makes you gain weight at what rate, from what starting conditions, under what other dietary conditions, environment and exercise levels"

    Eg in this case, I'm sure that there was a relative popularity of lego compared to the next whatever-kids-are-interested-in. Ie some quantitative analysis / results.

    And I found it interesting (got to go Christmas shopping for the nephew's prezzie yet) that the popular lego(s?) were those that were more generic over the themed ones - an example of the less obvious result hiding in the Duh-Generic.

    Also, back to the point of the article, great to know that large scale analytics can be made available easily to the general population, instead of just applying those in academic ivory towers and the great unwashed of the marketing "profession" trying to flog us stuff.

  7. jzl


    Bloody Americans, coming over here, stealing our women, incorrectly forming plurals from our mass nouns....

    1. jzl

      Re: Lego

      Lego is a mass noun. You can have an amount of lego, but not a quantity. The unit of lego (to turn it into a count noun) is the brick or piece.

      A large amount of lego is composed of many lego bricks.

      The smallest amount of lego is one lego piece.


      1. Tel

        Re: Lego

        Actually 'Lego' is simply the brand name - therefore it is a Proper Noun. We just customarily - and incorrectly - drop 'bricks' or 'pieces' when talking about Lego.

        You don't play with your Hornby do you? (Unless you use the name for something else, but that would just be wrong).

        I'm off to play with my Meccanoes.

  8. MyffyW Silver badge

    If I remember rightly Watson uses it's user behaviour as one of it's information sources. So a Doctor not accepting Watson's diagnosis will cause it to learn to diagnose better, a financial advisor overruling it's advice will cause it to tout different products etc. etc.

    Question: When Mum and Dad ignore the must-have toy of the season will that cause Watson to recommend that everybody gets an apple, an orange and a doll for Christmas?

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      So using your post as a starting point...

      Can we all overrule Watson when it states that it believes it "exists"?

      That would be fun.

  9. tiggity Silver badge


    Unless those are tint fingers the "headline" image is not lego but a small kiddie friendly brick such as duplo (though that is made by Lego (the company), but your average punter would not call duplo lego)

  10. P. Lee

    So, it has come to this...

  11. Dr Scrum Master


    Already bought my children their Mindstorms set early so they can learn how to work in the area of the construction of our future robotic overlords.

    Hmmm, now I say it out loud it doesn't sound so good...

  12. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken


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