Dr Watson Will See You Now In Latest IBM AI Deployment


IBM’s artificial intelligence system Watson is to turn its hand to diagnosing rare diseases in a German hospital. The aim is to combine human-like analytical skills with the sheer speed and capacity of computers.

Watson shot to fame after comfortably defeating two champions at Jeopardy!, a game that appeared a particular challenge for computers as it involves taking an answer and trying to figure out the associated clue. That means exploring and refining a wide range of possibilities in quick order.

The system will now be used in Margburg’s Undiagnosed and Rare Diseases Centre where, the BBC reports, some patients have seen more than 40 doctors without a diagnosis. The idea is that Watson will scan anonymized patient records, some of which run into thousands of pages, then compare them against medical literature such as research papers to try to find what condition might have caused a specific set of symptoms.

The idea isn’t to give a definitive answer but rather a ranking of the most likely matches, giving the human doctors a more manageable set of possibilities to explore.
The project will start with testing on 500 previous cases before it’s used for current patients.