Did Watson Use AI To Pick Bob Dylan For The New IBM Commercials?

cics47ssad.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail

by Anura Guruge

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Search on “Hursley”, “IBM” & “mainframes” for other IBM (Hursley) related posts … and also ‘Dylan’ >>>>

Click either image to access the YouTube video of the commercial.


This commercial was on CNBC this morning around 10 am (Eastern). Deanna called me out of the bathroom to (rewind the DVR) and watch it.



In my eyes Bob Dylan can do no wrong. I am a huge, ‘life long’ fan. We saw him, at ‘Meadowbrook‘, 2nd row seats, c. 2004. Deanna hates him with a passion. And that could be the issue with this commercial.

It will resonate with folks of my vintage — and most of those do have ‘C’ titles. That is good. But the problem is that 95% of corporate IT is now being done, time never standing still, by folks of Deanna’s age and younger. Dylan doesn’t mean much to them. And that really is the BIG problem that has besetted IBM for the last decade. Never mind Dylan, the name ‘IBM’ holds no significance, let alone reverence, to the current crop of IT professionals.

Think IBM “Think” signs sits in front of my keyboard even as I now type. It was given to me during my first week at IBM in August 1974. One of the FEW things from that era that I still have. But I also have one of my original S/370 reference cards and a few IBM flowcharting templates!

The days of ‘you can’t get fired for choosing IBM’ are long gone and in reality it is now a case of ‘you can most certainly get fired for choosing IBM’.

I have to confess, though he does smile, Dylan does look scary in this commercial. Deanna opined that she was not surprised that he looks so bad that ‘given that he must be in his 80s’! How unkind. I said I didn’t think he was that old and that he has to be in his 70s. I just looked. Born May 24, 1941, Robert Allen Zimmerman, in Duluth, Minnesota. So he is 74.

Bob Dylan is 17 years OLDER than IBM (which came to be known by that name as of February 14, 1924). THINK about that.

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