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Need Help Filing Your Taxes? IBM's Watson Can Help

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IBM Watson is best known for appearances on Jeopardy! and unlocking the secret to happiness, but now the artificial intelligence supercomputer is adding a new accomplishment to its resume: filing your annual tax returns, Mashable reports.

H&R Block has partnered with IBM to use Watson’s computing power to go through tax documents and receipts. Along with H&R Block staff, IBM’s software will use natural language processing to understand more than 70,000 pages of the United States federal tax code as well as up-to-date tax laws in order to find the best possible tax return for customers.

“IBM has shown how complex, data-rich industries such as healthcare, retail and education are being transformed through the use of Watson,” said David Kenny, IBM's senior vice president for Watson, in a press release. “Now with H&R Block, we’re applying the power of cognitive computing in an entirely new way that everyone can relate to and benefit from – the tax prep process.”

IBM Watson will also learn more about the U.S. tax code as it continues to file more returns throughout the season, so it can be smarter and more efficient. The tax firm hopes that Watson will improve the way they file year after year.

H&R Block will officially launch IBM's Watson at their 10,000 locations nationwide on February 5.

[h/t Mashable]

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New AI-Driven Music System Analyzes Tracks for Perfect Playlists
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Whether you're planning a bachelorette party or recovering from a breakup, a well-curated playlist makes all the difference. If you don't have time to pick the perfect songs manually, services that use the AI-driven system Sonic Style may be able to figure out exactly what you have in mind based on your request.

According to Fast Company, Sonic Style is the new music-categorizing service from the media and entertainment data provider Gracenote. There are plenty of music algorithms out there already, but Sonic Style works a little differently. Rather than listing the entire discography of a certain artist under a single genre, the AI analyzes individual tracks. It considers factors like the artist's typical genre and the era the song was recorded in, as well as qualities it can only learn through listening, like tempo and mood. Based on nearly 450 descriptors, it creates a super-accurate "style profile" of the track that makes it easier for listeners to find it when searching for the perfect song to fit an occasion.

Playlists that use data from Sonic Style feel like they were made by a person with a deep knowledge of music rather than a machine. That's thanks to the system's advanced neural network. It also recognizes artists that don't fit neatly into one genre, or that have evolved into a completely different music style over their careers. Any service—including music-streaming platforms and voice-activated assistants—that uses Gracenote's data will be able to take advantage of the new technology.

With AI at your disposal, all you have to do as the listener is decide on a style of music. Here are some ideas to get you started if you want a playlist for productivity.

[h/t Fast Company]

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