IBM Adds New Watson Emotional, Visual APIs to Bluemix

IBM announced new Watson APIs that accelerate the emotional IQ and image recognition capabilities of cognitive systems.

IBM Watson

LAS VEGAS—As it gears up for what it calls the cognitive era of computing, IBM announced new and expanded cognitive APIs for developers that enhance Watson's emotional and visual senses.

The three new APIs further extend the capabilities of the Watson cognitive computing system and enable developers to add new emotional functionality to their cognitive applications. IBM announced the new APIs at its InterConnect 2016 conference here.

Three APIs, Tone Analyzer, Emotion Analysis and Visual Recognition, are now available in beta. Additionally, Text to Speech (TTS) has been updated with new emotional capabilities and is being re-released as Expressive TTS for general availability. These APIs are pushing the sensory boundaries of how humans and machines interact, and they are designed to improve how developers embed these technologies to create solutions that can think, perceive and empathize.

"We continue to advance the capabilities we offer developers on IBM's Watson platform to help this community create dynamic AI infused apps and services," said David Kenny, general manager of IBM Watson, in a statement. "We are also simplifying the platform, making it easier to build, teach and deploy the technology. Together, these efforts will enable Watson to be applied in many more ways to address societal challenges."

IBM is also adding tooling capabilities and enhancing its SDKs—Node, Java, Python, and newly introduced iOS Swift and Unity—across the Watson portfolio and adding Application Starter Kits to make it easy and fast for developers to customize and build with Watson. All APIs are available through the IBM Watson Developer Cloud on Bluemix.

The Tone Analyzer gives users better insights about their own tone in a piece of text. Adding to its previous experimental understanding of nine traits across three tones—emotion (negative, cheerful, angry), social propensities (open, agreeable, conscientious) and writing style (analytical, confident, tentative)—Tone Analyzer now analyzes new emotions, including joy, disgust, fear and sadness, as well as new social propensities, including extraversion and emotional range.

Also new to the beta version, Tone Analyzer is moving from analyzing single words to analyzing entire sentences. This analysis is helpful in situations that require nuanced understanding. For example, in speech writing it can indicate how different remarks might come across to the audience, from exhibiting confidence and agreeableness to showing fear. In customer service, it can help analyze a variety of social, emotional and writing tones that influence the effectiveness of an exchange.

IBM partner and Watson user Alpha Modus uses the Tone Analyzer as part of its investment management solution to help get a more precise indication of what's going on in the stock market, said Prashant Bhuyan, co-founder and CTO of the company.

Also, Watson Ecosystem Partner Connectidy has developed an innovative relationship science platform that uses the Tone Analyzer beta to intuitively help users understand how messages to potential matches may come across.

"Through the analysis of authentic language in real time, Tone Analyzer provides people with an unprecedented level of perspective into how their emotions and social propensities play out in their written word," said Dineen Tallering, president of Connectidy, in a statement. "This is a critical piece of emotional intelligence because it enables us to continually educate users on how they appear to others. We are able to advance past static algorithms to achieve a level of cognitive insight that continuously learns and helps guide our users towards greater self awareness and better choices."