AI Biweekly: Watson’s Future Uncertain; Robert Enslin Joins Google Cloud
Leyi Hu — Analyst, Global Industry
Bye Bye Watson?
An increasing number of companies are taking steps into AI healthcare. Although many experts in computer science and medicine agree that AI has the potential to transform the health care industry, not every company’s efforts in the space have have been productive. According to a STAT magazine report citing inside sources, IBM will be ending sales of its Watson AI software for drug development — a very high-profile retreat in the company’s AI healthcare strategy.
It seems that even with a proven and powerful technology, IBM could not solve a fundamental mismatch between how machines learn and how doctors work. Many of Watson’s potential advantages could only be demonstrated in carefully controlled experiments. It’s believed IBM’s next step will be to concentrate its AI efforts on clinical development, which may help the tech giant regain some much-needed steam in healthcare. IBM still maintains a huge network of healthcare partners and customers — for example its ties with pharma giants Pfizer and Novartis — which could also help sales of a revamped clinical development product.
April 19 — IBM Halting Sales of Watson AI Tool for Drug Discovery Amid Sluggish Growth.
- A sign that eight years after launching Watson Health, IBM is not 100% sure how AI should factor into the future of healthcare.
Ivan Zhou — Analyst, Global Industry
Robert Enslin Joins Google Cloud to Work on Global Customer Operations
Robert Enslin, who worked at German software company SAP for 27 years, is joining Google Cloud as President of Global Customer Operations. The hire is seen as part of new Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian’s grand vision and a prioritization of enterprise customers announced at the recent Cloud Next conference. Enslin has experience leading SAP’s cloud product portfolio across regions. and his addition will strengthen the engineering-driven Google Cloud team which has excelled with technologies such as Kubernetes, TensorFlow, and TPUs. Google Cloud’s new focus will be on establishing strong connections and developing relationships with big enterprise customers, an area where Robert Enslin brings valuable experience and expertise.
April 17 — Former SAP Executive Robert Enslin Joins Google Cloud
- Former SAP executive Robert Enslin joins Google Cloud as the President of Global Customer Operations, indicating the company’s ambition to grow in the enterprise business.
- Robert Enslin has worked at SAP for 27 years in roles including President of SAP’s cloud product portfolio, President of SAP North America, and CEO of SAP Japan.
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