The IBM supercomputer that was awesome at Jeopardy. I mocked the idea of spending that much money and energy on a computer that could beat humans at a game show. (see: Watch a Computer Beat the Best Humans at Jeopardy). The criticism was warranted because of course Watson wasn’t just built for Jeopardy.
Of course, I knew that. I still thought it was funny that such a big deal was made about a computer that was awesome at Jeopardy.
One commenter (Avraham Bronstein) quoted an article that indicated that Watson was being developed for health care.
The AP is reporting that they were present for a demonstration of Watson helping to diagnose a medical problem. It’s really a perfect fit for Watson. A human doctor can only remember so much in his or her puny human brain. Watson’s massive digital storage can “remember” almost infinite amounts of information. Watson is much better equipped to make a complex diagnosis than a doctor.
Watson will make suggestions to doctors and rank them by how likely they are to be correct. Working in tandem with human doctors will make a medical dream team.
In fact, not only will Watson “know” all the information that scientists, medical professionals have published, Watson will also know about personal medical anecdotes by reading blogs. I think that is the coolest thing ever. There are tons of personal blogs where people write about their medical conditions and of course no doctor could read them all or even parse out the valuable information. But Watson can.
Also, since Watson works with voice recognition technology, any doctor can use it. You don’t need to be trained to use Watson. You just talk.
Kudos to IBM for this amazing innovation. I hope that we will be seeing Watson in hospitals and doctor offices sometime soon. The AP is reporting it will be about two years before they will begin marketing Watson to the medical community.
I sure hope so.