Dr. Watson Will See You Soon
Watson, IBM's game show-winning artificial intelligence system, has been working with the University of Maryland School of Medicine on potential health care applications. The 3,000 computer cores that provide Watson's mental muscle are shown below, in a cluster of cabinets about the size of ten refrigerators.
(IBM's Watson computer - backstage)
Eliot L. Siegel, MD, professor of diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine, will be leading the project for the School of Medicine. He says, "The system also has the potential to ingest information from a single patient's electronic medical record in one facility or potentially multiple facilities and also to acquire information from multiple patients. It then has the ability to form multiple hypotheses in a manner similar to the way in which it understands the Jeopardy question and forms multiple hypotheses."
In the health care setting, the Watson technology may be a powerful tool, helping doctors diagnose patients. Dr. Siegel suggests the technology has the potential to result in a renaissance in the application of "artificial intelligence" in medical data mining, data analysis and decision support.
He adds, "I see Watson's capabilities not as replacement for physicians but as an adjunct and tool to organize, highlight and prioritize information to make a physician more efficient and effective, and improve patient safety. In a manner similar to a physician who works with residents and fellows and medical students, our physician of the future might utilize this tool to provide improved patient care more cost effectively."
Perhaps a system like this will power a futuristic doctor hologram like The Doctor, as seen on the USS Voyager.
(The Doctor on the USS Voyager)
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