I couldn't believe how much media attention Watson grabbed during the Jeopardy appearance. Applying Watson's smart processing power to attack the big data problem in the medical diagnostic field seems to have endless possibilities. Is there any specific project or event planned for Watson's medical field debut or has IBM just said that's the next frontier for the technology?
Geof, Watson is a great candidate for medical applications. For years, expert systems, of which Watson is an advanced example of, have been touted for medical applications. They have in fact proven themselves. The issue is liability. From my own experience, and that of others, we would all be better off if computers used more often in medical diagnosis.
I agree that Watson is great for the initial research but I don't see computers replacing human intuition and experience in the trail stages.
This article brings to mind a lecture I heard that explored how humanity can't keep up with its own progress. We've found so many answers in the late 20th and early 21st century but we're not sure what the questions are. Using computers like Watson may get the right questions out there to lead to better advancement.
Medical is a great application for Watson. It will be interesting to see whether doctors will be willing to utilize Watson. It will also be interesting to see whether the insurance industry requires its use in order to reduce risk.
Medical applications do seem to be an ideal match for this type of advanced software technology. Lots of facts and data that can be analyzed and the need for advanced algorithms to quickly comb through large amounts of data. Will be interesting to see the "practical approaches" to using this kind of technology, especially given liability concerns and the need the absolute need for a personalized approach to medical diagnosis.
As we design more and more complex machines, we become more and more confident in our ability to repair these machines. Ultimately we all become humbled when trying to either explain or listen to a set of symptoms regarding an illness of one of the most comlex creations in the universe. Good diagnosticians spend la ifetime studying every aspect of physiology and following research in the medical field and yet frequently mis-diagnose the simplest of maladies. Properly applied, Watson will be a tool to assist the physician in diagnosis and treatment. But ultimately, the decision will be in the hands of the Doctor. We should exercise due caution when empowering our health-care payers (not providers!) on how to determine what treatment is most appropriate. Given the current condition of our health care system and the organizations trying to run it, the concept of a "Watson" scares the heck out of me. We need a Watson, but we need to be very careful how we use it.
When they make a computer that turns on instantly, never forgets my email or printer settings and is immune to hacking and viruses I will be impressed. Watson is just an extension of current computing practice with some fancy programming.
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