IBM has a long history of philanthropic efforts around the world, dating back to the company’s founding more than 100 years ago. But more recently, it’s been moving beyond simple giveaways and making a concerted effort to shape society in its image. In Canada, for example, Ottawa and Surrey have won grants under IBM’s Smarter Cities program, which aims to improve city life through technology.

IBM also sponsors many educational programs. At Toronto’s Ryerson University, it helped set up a continuing education program to teach mainframe computing, a subject that had all but disappeared from schools’ curricula since the 1980s.

Then there’s Watson, of course, the supercomputer famous for its Jeopardy skills that IBM says is already helping doctors make diagnoses.

This interview gives some good background on how IBM sees these kinds of efforts and what the company is planning in the future.