GE acquires two artificial intelligence startups


Beefing up business: GE said the acquisitions will expand its Predix platform for industrial Internet applications.

SEATTLE: General Electric said it has acquired two tech startups to build its artificial intelligence capability, a move that helps it compete with IBM's Watson product.

GE said the acquisitions of Bit Stew Systems and Wise.io will expand its Predix platform for industrial Internet applications, which connects big machines such as power plants and aircraft engines to databases and analytical software. Terms of the deals weren't disclosed.

Berkley, California-based Wise.io has advanced machine learning technology that GE sees "as really well-built for the industrial world", Bill Ruh, chief executive officer of GE Digital, GE's software arm, said in an interview.

A branch of artificial intelligence, machine learning allows computers to adapt to new data without new programming.

Bit Stew, based in Vancouver, BC, is partly backed by GE's venture capital arm. It applies machine learning to large data sets associated with utilities, aviation, oil and gas production and manufacturing, according to the company's web site.

IBM Watson business is among the better known artificial intelligence systems, which enable computers to perform intelligent actions such as recognising voices and making decisions. —  Reuters

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