For Jeopardy winner Watson, it was only a matter of time to move from trivial pursuits to instant diagnoses. The supercomputer that famously won a game show is now going to med school to learn diagnosis and treatment.WellPoint is working with IBM's Watson supercomputer to diagnose medical illnesses and to recommend treatment options for patients. These processes happen within seconds in a new system that will debut at several cancer conferences in early 2012.

September 13, 2011

2 Min Read
Supercomputer Watson on Tap for Diagnoses

Here is a video of Watson destroying all humans, courtesy of Engadget.

Answer: 0000001000001111000001111100011111.
Question: What is AI poetry?

For Jeopardy winner Watson, it was only a matter of time to move from trivial pursuits to instant diagnoses. (Forgive me. That was a lot of puns for one sentence).

The supercomputer that won Jeopardy is now on tap to learn diagnosis and treatment. Incidentally, Ken Jennings recently posted his 99% letter, in which Jenings blames Watson entirely for his inability to compete on gameshows.

WellPoint is working with IBM's supercomputer to diagnose medical illnesses and to recommend treatment options for patients. These processes happen within seconds in a new system that will debut at several cancer conferences in early 2012.

Executives said that Watson's ability to sift through million of pages of data make it ideal for producing diagnostics instantaneously. As reported in the LA Times, "WellPoint said the computer system will not supplant doctors but instead provide them with instant information to make better decisions to improve the quality of care and save money."

Wellpoint said in a press release that Watson will not be used to make decisions about reimbursing patients or doctors for the cost of treatments. “Physicians really need tools to get better-quality answers,” said Lori Beer, a WellPoint executive vice president in charge of the initiative. “We see this as a tool to help them be more successful in driving better outcomes for our members. We’re not trying to replace the physician.” Beer said that WellPoint and doctors involved in the project will each supply patient information for the computer system.

The data will be supplemented by medical journals, textbooks, and other sources. Watson will be able to analyze 1 million books, or roughly 200 million pages of information, and provide responses in less than three seconds, according to leaders of the project. That’s important, they say, given the challenge faced by doctors to keep up with an explosion of medical information.

Heather Thompson

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