/// IBM’s Game Show Winning Watson Computer Goes to Work Treating Cancer

February 9, 2013  |  All Things Digital


Remember Watson? That’s right, the IBM-made supercomputer that whipped the human race at the game show “Jeopardy,” and then for an encore went to medical school and embarrassed us all by becoming a sort-of big shot doctor ? Yeah, that Watson. Remember, too, how this time last year it was starting to specialize in the treatment of cancer , absorbing all the medical literature on the subject? Well, it’s done training and is now ready to go to work. Yesterday as the result of work done by the health insurance provider Wellpoint and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York, IBM announced that the first commercial versions of Watson are ready for sale. During what I’ll loosely call its training period, Watson has to date “read” some 600,000 documents of medical evidence, two million pages of specialty medical journals and clinical trials focusing on oncology or the treatment of cancer. The point of all this is to be able to answer complicated questions, based on evidence, about the treatments of cancer. The point of all this, as I learned from IBM’s Manoj Saxena, is to create some kind of constant way for doctors to consult a deep trove of medical knowledge as they go through the complexities of treating their patients. It’s getting especially more difficult to keep up with the constantly evolving new cancer treatments, especially those based on genetic treatments.

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IBM’s Game Show Winning Watson Computer Goes to Work Treating Cancer



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