IBM CEO promises new watsonx will ‘unlock’ A.I. productivity by protecting companies’ data

Good morning.

Technology moves slow, then fast. Twelve years ago, an IBM computer named Watson defeated two champions of the TV game Jeopardy. It was a stunning demonstration of the power of artificial intelligence. But subsequent events made clear that A.I. still had a ways to go before it would transform the world of business. 

This morning, IBM announces a new product, IBM watsonx, that CEO Arvind Krishna told me last week “is the unlock for the A.I. productivity we have been talking about.” It follows on the heels of the extraordinary success of Open AI’s ChatGPT. While ChatGPT is an open-source A.I. model that draws on massive amounts of publicly-available data, what most businesses need is something that will let them apply the same technology to their proprietary data, without compromising its privacy. IBM believes it has developed the answer. Says Krishna: “With IBM watsonx, clients can quickly train and deploy custom A.I. capabilities across their entire business, all while retaining full control of their data.” 

The approach pairs with the company’s focus on “hybrid cloud,” a strategy that recognizes companies are willing to put some of their data in the cloud, but wish to protect other data on premise. You can read more about it here.

And by the way, A.I. announcements these days are happening in waves. Also today, Salesforce is announcing the launch of Tableau GPT, which will use the power of generative A.I. to create data visualizations that provide automated insights and analytics. Tableau CEO Ryan Aytay said the new tools will “make data and analytics more accessible to many.”

Separately, Fortune hosted a conversation yesterday about what it takes to be a great place to work, featuring three CEOs who have ranked high in recent years on our 100 Best Companies to Work For list, in conjunction with our partner UKG. A few excerpts:

Your employees’ health and well-being, both physically and mentally, is so critical to your company…If you get it right and really help your employees in this journey, it’s going to make you more productive.”

Jim Kavanaugh, cofounder and CEO, World Wide Technology

“We don’t require employees to be in the office. We really allow them to choose what’s best for them, what’s best for their team…This has been a real competitive advantage. When we announced this, the applicant pool for our new jobs shot up 30% almost overnight. And our attrition…has been probably half of what it is across the industry, and better than it was pre-pandemic.”

Brian Doubles, CEO, Synchrony

Companies that are purpose-led perform better financially. Consumers are doing research all the time, and they want to be connected with a company they’re proud of. More importantly, employees want to have an impact, and they want their work to be meaningful. And so [purpose] is really important.”

—Tricia Griffith, CEO, The Progressive Corporation

Putting people first leads to outstanding customer satisfaction and financial performance.”

Michael Bush, CEO, Great Place to Work

More news below.

Alan Murray


Pay discrimination

Goldman Sachs will reportedly pay $215 million to settle a class action lawsuit that accused the investment bank of underpaying its female employees and denying them opportunities for promotion. The settlement ends one of Wall Street’s most public fights about pay disparity. Bloomberg

Consulting crackdown

Chinese state media reported Monday that police raided the Chinese offices of consulting firm Capvision on national security grounds. Law enforcement accused Capvision of contacting “secret-related personnel” in the Chinese Communist Party. Capvision is the latest known target of Beijing's growing crackdown on consulting firms and auditors, alongside the Mintz Group and Bain and Company. Financial Times

Going after crypto endorsements

Fortune’s Shawn Tully reports on the legal strategy deployed by lawyers Adam Moskowitz and David Boies to help customers burned by the crypto crash. The two accuse crypto celebrity endorsers, like Mark Cuban and Shaquille O’Neal, of promoting unregistered securities and failing to disclose compensation. “Celebrities won’t go near crypto ads now, and we’ve had a big role in that,” Moskowitz tells Tully. Fortune


The ‘godfather of A.I.’ says his technology is a bigger threat than climate change: ‘It’s not at all clear what you should do’ by Will Daniel 

‘Attaining the American dream is becoming more challenging than ever’, finds BofA’s millennial housing survey by Alena Botros

Frank founder accused of fraud notches big win against JPMorgan as bank must pay her legal bills by Luisa Beltraz

Why PepsiCo hires 2,000 new grads every year regardless of economic conditions by Amber Burton and Paolo Confino 

Why the CEOs of OnlyFans and Latin America’s top women’s health companies see the region as a growth market by Emma Hinchliffe

Coinbase is trying a novel legal strategy against the SEC. Will it work? By Jeff John Roberts

This edition of CEO Daily was curated by Nicholas Gordon. 

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