This week, IBM announced a new AI and data platform, Watsonx, at its annual Think conference. Watsonx is designed to help enterprises scale and accelerate the impact of the most advanced AI with trusted data. Watsonx will offer a studio, a data store, and a governance toolkit for building, tuning, and deploying foundation models and generative AI across any cloud environment.
What are Foundation Models and Generative AI?
Foundation models are large-scale AI models that can learn from massive amounts of data and perform multiple tasks across different domains. They can be adapted and fine-tuned for specific use cases with less data and computational resources than training a model from scratch. Generative AI is a branch of AI that can create new content or data, such as text, images, code, or music, based on existing data or inputs.
What are the benefits of Watsonx?
Watsonx aims to make AI more accessible, scalable, and trustworthy for enterprises. With Watsonx, clients will be able to:
- Access a variety of foundation models and open-source models curated and trained by IBM for different purposes, such as natural language understanding, code generation, chemical synthesis, or climate change modeling.
- Use a data store to gather and cleanse training and tuning data from various sources and formats.
- Use a governance toolkit to monitor, explain, secure, and audit their AI models and data throughout the lifecycle.
- Train and deploy custom AI capabilities across their entire business with speed and confidence.
- Collaborate with IBM Consulting and Hugging Face, an open-source AI software development hub, to leverage the best of enterprise-grade and community-driven AI.
Most exciting is that this is completely new work out of IBM Research and, when available in July, is meant to have options for SaaS on AWS or deploy anywhere on Openshift.
What Makes the New Generative AI and Foundation Model-infused Watson Products Unique to the Market?
We’ve been anticipating the prospect of using generative models to automate menial tasks and accelerate complex ones, and this announcement holds great potential. IBM also announced new Watson products that will leverage foundation models and generative AI to address these various business challenges, such as:
- Watson Code: A product that can automatically generate code from natural language specifications or existing code snippets.
- Watson AIOps: A product that can automate IT operations and incident management using natural language processing and anomaly detection.
- Watson Digital Labor: A product that can augment human workers with intelligent automation and conversational agents.
- Watson Security: A product that can enhance cybersecurity with threat detection and response using natural language understanding and anomaly detection.
- Watson Sustainability: A product that can help measure, track, manage, and report on cloud carbon emissions using an AI-powered dashboard.
However, what makes IBM unique is that this platform will let you tune the model using your own code repository, critically, without expositing that proprietary information to a shared model, meaning you don’t even need to let that data leave your secure network. The benefit of tuning we find, in this case, is getting suggestions that match your code standards and proprietary libraries and methods. The ability to tune foundation models while maintaining an appropriate risk and security posture continues IBM’s Emphasis on highly regulated industries and will be revolutionary.
How can I get started with Watsonx?
We’re looking forward to getting access to the tech preview and trying it out ourselves. This is a significant addition to our repertoire of generative AI tools and adds one more option to make this technology practical for the real world and a large variety of industries. Watsonx is expected to be released later this year, and you can sign up for early access at watsonx.ai. You can also join the IBM Think conference to learn more about Watsonx and other IBM innovations at ibm.com/think.