When Watson was competing on Jeopardy!, its massive databanks were filled with encyclopedias, novels, film scripts, and history books. These days, Watson is more into medical journals and misspelled Yahoo Answers blog posts about weird rashes and vague abdominal pains. Watson is maturing, and prepping for his first non-trivia, real-world application: medical diagnoses. He's all *sniff* grown up!
We've known medicine was to be the next step for Watson for some time, but just recently, IBM gave a short demonstration of Watson's progress. Watson isn't the first attempt at an automated diagnosis program--we documented Artemis, and Isabel has been around for a few years--but Watson's incredible power, depth of knowledge, and ability to understand natural human language puts it in a totally different league. Diagnosing an ailment isn't really that much different from answering a trivia question; Watson takes in as much information as possible from the question, eliminating the potential answers as new information renders them impossible, and comes up with a list of likely answers. An example from the AP: "As more clues were unveiled - blurred vision, family history of arthritis, Connecticut residence - Watson's suggested diagnoses evolved from uveitis to Behcet's disease to Lyme disease. It gave the final diagnosis a 73 percent confidence rating."
While on Jeopardy!, Watson could only give one answer, but in medicine, it lists all possible answers, along with the percent likeliness. An 80% possibility of accuracy is enough for Watson to risk money on Jeopardy, but when working with possible diagnoses, that still leaves a one in five chance that the patient is afflicted with something else, so Watson is designed to divulge even the less likely answers.
Watson's human language recognition skills also allows it to input an entirely new sector of information: anecdotal evidence. Anecdotal evidence is not necessarily reliable, of course, but can still be extremely useful--it's worth noting that a patient's description of symptoms is anecdotal, and still very important to diagnosis. Watson is able to trawl through the internet, picking up the oodles of medical information out there and adding it to its memory banks. Being able to understand that, say, a "dry mouth" is the same as xerostomia can make legitimate use of all those confused forums.
Of course, Watson isn't designed to replace a doctor's diagnostic instincts. Instead, it's more like a futuristic reference book. There's simply too much information out there these days, in too many places and added too frequently, for any doctor to keep up. Watson could help keep track of all the new drugs, studies, journals, and anecdotal evidence.
Diagnosis systems using Watson are still likely a few years away, but IBM is working on ways to leverage Watson's abilities even to hospitals with budgets too small to afford a multimillion-dollar Watson of their own. iPad apps were mentioned as a distinct possibility--doctors could tap into an off-site Watson with an iPad, shoot off a few queries and receive an answer immediately. And as more medical data is digitized, Watson will only get stronger and more useful.
Next thing you know Watson passes a medical accreditation exam...in three languages
After that I would think applications in engineering are next
First Watson is developed for Medical Diagnoses. Next they can start adding all the Engineering Sciences and Pysics. Then Watson will get the plans for the 3D printer, develope it further and begin making it's own Cyborgs, networked linking them back to Watson. The Cyborg army is made and SKYNET begins. It's all just a matter of time.
Go Watson! :)
Just please don't build SKYNET :)
Pretty soon he will become "self-aware"!!
I think that Watson will face stiff challenges from people who do energy healing, such as Matrix Energetics, Tong Ren, Symbolic Coder, Karuna and Usui Reiki and energy rebalancing.
Doctors work from the physical side with pharmaceutical drugs and surgery, whereas energy healers work from the energy side with frequencies and chi energy (hyperspace energy).
The energy healers remove energy blockages which allows the body to heal itself. Tong Ren, for example, can treat 193 health conditions such as MS, ALS, ADD, lower back pain, clogged arteries, cancer and Abducens disease.
Matrix can treat patients who have past life health issues that manifest in this lifetime. In terms of quantum physics, a past healthy state can be brought to the present to repair broken bones in the finger or foot.
Symbolic Coder, who is an intelligent field in our aura, can take a complicated pinched nerve with torn muscles and show it as a knotted rope. By untying the knot with the energy hands and removing it from the aura, the condition is removed.
Because doctors are not trained in hyperspace physics, they can not be expected to understand these methods, which applies to Watson as well.
@johnstclair ... I'm a regular reader of popsci and enjoy reading the comments that my fellow popscians post. Now the first comment about this I enjoyed and thought it was quite cool but you keep posting things about it and it's starting to get annoying... Can you please stop? You are like a spammer and I hate spammers!
@kyled it is a new phenomenon, some people use these types of places to assuage their ego... I applaud you for telling them to stop, and I DARE you to report their comments! :) Tell Popsci they are crap for all I care!
Sounds like this machine could also be put to use trying to understand our laws, codes, etc. and help us to "fix" them such that they work better. The hardest part of changing one of these monolithic documents, is that sometimes your fix allows or causes unforseen problems, such as the freedom to give birth no matter how stupid you are, which results in what kyled was complaining about!
Finally a good use for a computer.
This is a great solution to the mom and pop culture of modern health care. It really is a poor system now. Sure doctors need to be well trained but having an automated tool may help even the best doctor to offer the best solution. I doubt the medical profession will agree. They keep the numbers of doctors limited so they can keep their fee's up. This would be too much for them to worry about. They might loose money on this, RN's might be able to use it. OH, My Gosh.
A hospital corpsman with this tool might be able to treat many common ailments and keep doctors roles to serious issues.
soon skynet will arise and we will be the slaves of our robot lords. time to get titanium limbs and a titanium heart shield.
i already knew that this was its next step however what i cant wait for is this to become open source or link it to a website in which we all can ask it questions really..
I think its time for an updated version of DEMON SEED
I thought only doctors could make medical diagnoses.
The title of the article says that Watson can make medical diagnoses which does not seem correct. Watson provides relevant data to the physician so that he can make the diagnosis, not the computer.
If computers can make diagnoses, then energy healers should be allowed to also.
What about Immovable Object healing?