The IBM Watson AI super-computer has saved a woman’s life by successfully diagnosing a rare form of leukaemia in minutes, a task which had baffled doctors at the University of Tokyo for months.
For years, technologists have been touting Watson as the future of healthcare. With an unrivalled ability to crunch huge volumes of data, the super computer has been promised to transform medicine by providing accurate diagnoses at an unprecedented speed.
Watson first started studying medicine in 2011. Based at Columbia University and the University of Maryland, it was fed medical cases and millions of pages of research papers.
In 2013, Watson was made available to doctors and health insurance companies, New York Daily News reported. But as Silicon Angle notes, it could be some time before Watson replaces doctors completely.
In addition to diagnosing rare illnesses, Watson could supply perfect dosages of medicine for each patient’s personal genetic makeup. But to perform such a task, Watson would require access to a huge repository of DNA data, raising serious concerns about patients’ privacy.
If there isn’t sufficient data available about a new disease, Watson might also struggle to make an accurate diagnosis.
The robots and drones that will change our lives
1 Robots that can deliver other robots:Amazon/AP
2 Robots that could soon be saving lives:MARK RALSTON via Getty Images
3 Robots that can carry your stuff:MARK RALSTON via Getty Images
4 Robots that can kill:AFP via Getty Images
5 Robots that can race each other:YOSHIKAZU TSUNO via Getty Images
6 Robots that are toys:ASSOCIATED PRESS
7 Robots that will do your weekly shop: