Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"Watson" the game-playing talking super computer is getting a job at your doctors office

But he won't replace your doctor. At least not right away:

IBM's 'Jeopardy' computer lands health care job
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- IBM's Watson computer thrilled "Jeopardy" audiences in February by vanquishing two human champs in a three-day match. It's an impressive resume, and now Watson has landed a plum job.

IBM is partnering with WellPoint, a large health insurance plan provider with around 34 million subscribers, to bring Watson technology to the health care sector, the companies said Monday.


The goal is for Watson to help medical professionals diagnose and sort out treatment options for complicated health issues. Think of the system as an electronic Dr. House.

"Imagine having the ability to take in all the information around a patient's medical care -- symptoms, findings, patient interviews and diagnostic studies," Dr. Sam Nussbaum, WellPoint's (WLP, Fortune 500) chief medical officer, said in a prepared statement.

"Then, imagine using Watson analytic capabilities to consider all of the prior cases, the state-of-the-art clinical knowledge in the medical literature and clinical best practices to help a physician advance a diagnosis and guide a course of treatment," he added.

WellPoint plans to begin deploying Watson technology in small clinical pilot tests in early 2012.


IBM said early on that health care is a field where it anticipated commercialization opportunities for Watson. Other markets IBM is eying include online self-service help desks, tourist information centers and customer hotlines. [...]

So it's going to be used as a tool, like an interactive voice-activated database. The clinical pilot tests should be interesting. If it doesn't work out, perhaps Watson can get a job as a Radio DJ. "Denise" had better watch out!

I've posted about Watson previously:

      "Watson" won. But did it really?

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