IBM Watson could be your Fantasy Football secret weapon, for a price

The supercomputer and one-time Jeopardy champion puts its analytical skills to work by summing up the buzz on NFL stars.


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After conquering Jeopardy, polishing people’s office memos, improving city services, and helping nab tax cheaters, IBM Watson is setting its artificial mind to the much more important task of embarrassing your fantasy football friends.

This season, IBM will provide Watson’s services to Edge Up Sports, a fantasy football research app that’s currently under development. While there’s no shortage of research tools available to fantasy obsessives already, Edge Up claims to provide deeper insights into factors like the weather, team travel, and the matchup at hand.

Watson’s intelligence will be an additional offering on top of these basic services, analyzing the sentiments of a wide range of football experts. So instead of reading a dozen articles to figure out if Marshawn Lynch has a shot at 100 yards and a touchdown, Watson will sum up the general consensus for you. Watson will even look at the history of each analyst to figure if they tend to be optimistic or pessimistic.

These services don’t come free, however. Edge Up will charge $22 per year for its regular insights, and if you want Watson, the price goes up to $55 per year. (Early bird discounts are available as the company tries to get funded on Kickstarter.) But hey, depending on your league’s payout, maybe that’s a small price to pay—assuming Watson actually knows what it’s talking about.

Why this matters: As we enter the age of machine learning, sports has become quite the hobby for the world’s cognitive computing systems. Earlier this year, for instance, Microsoft’s Bing faced off against Google for March Madness supremacy, and Microsoft has also been picking winners for football games since last season. Fantasy Football is an obvious next step, with an estimated 57 million people playing in leagues this year. Because for all the world-changing potential of artificial intelligence, sometimes even the machines need a good pastime.

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