IBM Research Manager Abe Ittycheriah demonstrates how IBM Watson parses a sentence in English and “tokenizes” it to learn Korean, at IBM’s T. J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY.
Tech company IBM and SK Holdings C&C Ltd., a leading South Korean IT services company, announced Sunday the plans to bring IBM’s Watson cognitive services to South Korea.
The strategic alliance, which includes training Watson to understand Korean, is designed to accelerate the adoption of cognitive computing throughout the region.
The idea is to give South Korea-based developers a set of localized APIs and services they can use to help create their own applications and build new businesses.
Making Watson available in South Korea strengthens SK Holdings C&C’s commitment to foster the growth of cognitive and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies throughout the region.
SK Holdings C&C will run Watson and IBM Bluemix from its Pangyo Cloud Center, in support of universities, developers, and local businesses, across diverse industries including banking, telecommunications, health and government.
With the addition of Korean, IBM will increase the system’s conversational languages to eight including: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, and Arabic.
Watson’s ability to understand Korean builds upon nearly five years of research and development driven by leading scientists at IBM Research – Tokyo.
Due to a complex sentence structure, syntax and verb conjugation, Korean is widely considered one of the most challenging languages for native English speakers to learn. Like any major language, there are many unique idioms that must be fully understood for human interaction.
SK Holdings C&C will be IBM’s preferred distributor for cognitive solutions in South Korea, where the technology could be embedded into various form factors such as tablets, smartphones and smart devices, as well as robots, giving both organizations an opportunity to reach a broader audience of users. Korean language Watson services are expected to become available early next year.