You know my methods, Watson

You know my methods, Watson

IBM plans to acquire Promontory Financial Group, a risk management and regulatory compliance consulting firm, to boost IBM Watson’s cognitive technology.

Upon close of the deal, Promontory’s employees will train Watson, which will learn by “continuously ingesting regulatory information as it is created and through interaction in real-world applications”.

Bridget van Kralingen, senior vice-president, IBM Industry Platforms, says Promontory’s experts “will teach Watson and Watson, in turn, will extend and enhance their expertise”.

IBM says more than 20,000 new regulatory requirements were created last year alone, and the complete catalogue of regulations is projected to exceed 300 million pages by 2020, “rapidly outstripping the capacity of humans to keep up”. (A bit like fintech news stories.)

Today, the firm says the cost of managing the regulatory environment represents more than 10% of all operational spending of major banks, for a total of $270 billion per year. IBM reckons this immense workload and cost can be solved by Watson’s cognitive capabilities.

Promontory will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of IBM. Promontory is headquartered in Washington, DC and has 600 employees; and 19 offices in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East.

The planned acquisition is expected to close in late 2016 and is subject to applicable regulatory review and customary closing conditions. Financial details were not disclosed.