GE acquires two artificial intelligence startups

November 15, 2016 10:09 AM EST

The logo of Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market index listed company General Electric is shown at their subsidiary company GE Aviation in Santa Ana, California April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo


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SEATTLE (Reuters) - General Electric said on Tuesday 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, B.C., 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.

International Business Machines Corp's (IBM) Watson business is among the better known artificial intelligence systems, which enable computers to perform intelligent actions such as recognizing voices and making decisions.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)



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