The IBM computer program known as Watson is not content to rest on his laurels after giving a beating to former Jeopardy champs, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter. Watson has found new employment in the health care industry.
The recent three day Jeopardy competition gave IBM the opportunity to show off the artificial intelligence program's impressive skills. On display was Watson's ability to recognize human speech and answer questions by analyzing and retrieving information from its huge database. Now it's only a matter of adding medical information to Watson's databases and teaching him some medical jargon and he'll be ready to lend a hand to doctors at Columbia University Medical Center and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in about two years.
To further Watson's education in medicine, IBM has teamed up with a company called Nuance Communications. Nuance has a technology called Clinical Language Understand that understands complex medical jargon. Combine this ability with Watson's current abilities and you come up with the kind of artificial intelligence that University of Maryland School of Medicine professor, Eliot Siegel, says could someday assist physicians by helping to diagnose illnesses and by pouring through all of those medical journals and all the research literature that doctors don't have to read.
Is it very hard to imagine that someday people will make an appointment with a robot receptionist for a consultation with an android physician?
Yes, Watson did make a few silly mistakes in his television debut, but wouldn't you agree that Dr. Watson would make a much more pleasant and polite diagnostician than Dr. House?
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