Citibank is exploring potential uses for IBM's Jeopardy!-beating Watson super computer in the financial sector. Citi is aiming to become the US' leading digital bank, and is looking to Watson to help analyse risks on loans and investments as well as improve its customer interactions. The system is being trained to process a range of financial and economic data, including SEC filings, prospectuses, and previous loan performances, along with deep content analysis of wider data including news sources and Facebook in order to gauge public opinion and confidence. Citi will then be able to ask Watson to analyse a potential deal and offer advice on the risks involved in any deal and the likelihood of the bank getting a return on its investment.
As with its cancer-treating application for US insurer WellPoint, the financial system runs in the cloud meaning that it can easily be scaled up and offered to other financial providers. Rather than charging a fixed fee, Watson will be judged on its success: when it's eventually live, institutions using the service will pay a percentage of additional revenues and cost savings generated when the system is used. It's just an exploratory agreement for now — the two firms are working together to train the system and judge how viable it is as a long-term solution. However, IBM hopes that it will be lucrative, predicting that it could make over a $1 billion in 2015.