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Bob Dylan Talks to Computer in a New IBM Watson Commercial

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For the bulk of his career, Bob Dylan has been famously press-shy. But, if we are to believe a new ad, he has a new conversation buddy in IBM Watson.

As you can see in the above video, Dylan sits down in front of a laptop, who tells him that he’s read all of his lyrics, because it can read 800 million pages per second. The computer notes that it has analyzed them all and determined that “your major themes are that time passes and love fades.”

“Well, that sounds about right,” Dylan replies, which is perhaps the closest he’s come to publicly discussing his lyrics in years.

After the computer says, “I have never known love,” Dylan says, “Maybe we should write a song together.” Watson proceeds to sing, which causes Dylan to pick up his guitar and walk away. The words, “IBM Watson thinks with us to outthink the limits of creativity” appear on the screen.

Watson is a question-answering system that was first developed for the purpose of being a contestant on the game show Jeopardy!, where it defeated former champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. It has since been used in the healthcare field, and IBM is looking to expand its use into finance, legal and retail industries.

IBM’s website says that Watson “is built to mirror the same learning process that we have — through the power of cognition. What drives this process is a common cognitive framework that humans use to inform their decisions: Observe, Interpret, Evaluate, and Decide.”

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