IBM and USAA announced Wednesday that IBM Watson is taking on the challenge of advising US military personnel on a range of financial and life decisions when they decide to transition to civilian life.
Watson is cognitive computing technology that learns and improves accuracy with each use. USAA is using the IBM Watson Engagement Advisor, a version designed for customer-service and support roles, to respond to myriad, potentially complex questions that customers might ask about leaving the military. Watson has been in service on the USAA.com site for eight weeks, accessible in 50 states. In August the provider of insurance, banking, investment, and retirement products plans to add support through a Watson-powered USAA mobile app.
"More and more of the interactions that we're getting from our members are coming through our digital channels, including our web and mobile sites, so we're trying to make these channels as adept at delivering advice as a human being in our call center," said Neff Hudson, USAA's VP of emerging channels, in a phone interview with InformationWeek.
USAA serves more than 10 million members of the US military and their families, and each year more than 150,000 active military members transition to civilian life, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. USAA chose the Military Separation sections of its web and mobile sites for a Watson pilot project because it involves an array of complex topics including education, health insurance, housing, and retirement decisions.
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