Monday, February 22, 2016

IBM’s Watson Changing the world

            For years the idea of artificial intelligence has filled movie screens, and science fiction stories. Today, artificial intelligence is growing, and is in its strongest phase ever. IBM’s Watson is a massive amount of information stored in many servers and clouds. IBM states, “Watson is a technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data.” Unstructured data includes news articles, research, social media and much more. In fact, 80% of data is unstructured and Watson uses it to gain knowledge on a specific topic. At that point Watson can deliver answers and solutions to real world problems like health care.

            Watson is said to be the best diagnostician in the world. Statistics say 1-20 patients are misdiagnosed every year, and Watson looks to eliminate that to zero. Watson is unlike any human, it is able to diagnose, and make medical decisions that are free of biases, and overconfidence. While Watson's amazing medical abilities are saving the lives of many, it is concerning to me. I feel as if human compassion for a patient is needed in diagnosis. Behind a real doctor is emotion willing to listen to a patient. With Watson you, and your potentially life threatening illness is being analyzed as a set of statistics.

            Watson is something that no medical professional has seen before. Every doctor has their own experience with treatments, methods, and difference cases. Watson takes diagnoses, and treatment planning to a whole other level. If a doctor needs help coming up with the best treatment, Watson can analyze the data of by comparing similarities and differences between thousands of logged patients records. As this process occurs, Watson's database is only getting stronger and more accurate by the day. The medical world will only be expanding, and with the help of Watson, new doors could be opened towards a better way we handle medical prognosis’

            I feel the article and my further exploration on the idea of Watson is confusing. What I want to know is the availability of Watson. Is Watson only available to people whom IBM partners with? Is Watson available to be purchased as a service for hospitals or businesses? Lastly, I'd like to know where IBM plans to take Watson into the future. The platform was just been introduced within the last couple years so I'm curious as to where Watson will be next.



  1. The idea that we can replace human to human interaction with a human to system relationship is an interesting topic. I see this transition from human to system relationship as both harmful and beneficial in the long run. I see this as harmful because sick patients need a human to talk to when describing what they are feeling. They need the sense of compassion and care from the doctor to have reassurance that they will be okay and be looked after. This relationship is not something that a system, such as IBM Watson, could not give you. On the other hand, one benefit to the system interaction is that it takes away the risk of the patients transmitting their illnesses or diseases to the doctors. Also, in the long run it will continue to gain information and will continue to develop into a more intelligent being. This will be great because the limits are endless when it comes to what can be processed through a system. Humans can only learn so much throughout their lives. This system may be the next development that can change the landscape of the health business. The system also takes away the possibility for human error. It is able to process statistics and different formulas with more precision than anyone thought could be possible. I am also curious as to where IBM Watson will be in the future. There are obviously many advantages and benefits that come with it but in the end will the price be worth it and will there be enough of them to be spread out throughout the country? If the answer is yes, then I believe IBM Watson could become a game-changer in the health world.

  2. I believe that technology, such as Watson, certainly could help to eliminate misdiagnoses and provide the best care for patients. However, computers and AI cannot replace humans, who are understanding of emotions and will help partients to feel more comfortable. In addition, Watson and other tech cannot account for certain unexpected variables, which human doctors could help to resolve. For this reason, I believe humans will utilize AI within their workplace in order to lead to better practices, rather than have AI replace them outright.


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