IBM already has Watson, the virtual assistant that is helping businesses with analytics and performance, but it wants another artificial intelligence system to help identify robotic problems and product yield rates.
Numenta, the machine intelligence company set up by ex-Palm founder Jeff Hawkins, has been working on a system capable of near-replication of the human brain.
The company has not been in the news much over the past few years, but IBM’s sudden interest has sparked discussion as to how far ahead Numenta is against rivals like DeepMind, Google, Facebook and other AI rivals.
IBM has created an 100 person team to work on developing the AI into enterprise programs, like analysation of satellite data to spot early signs of malfunctioning machinery. This could help farmers maintain solid yield rate and quickly identify problems in the field.
For product assembly, Numenta would be able to tap into a wide range of Internet of Things modules and quickly locate issues on the assembly line. IBM, alongside others that have viewed the technology, believe it to be the closest to a human brain and the best performer out of all AI programs.
Numenta could serve as a problem solver for machinery, but IBM wants to integrate the system into every part of enterprise. Soon, it might be learning about the stock market, insurance and business management, since it can quickly understand patterns and theorise what is coming next.
IBM is not planning to work on speech assistants or any other sort of consumer brand AI for Numenta, focusing heavily on the enterprise side of the software. While that is a bit of a bummer for those that use Siri and Google Now, it could be a huge boon for industry.