World domination has been put on hold. IBM's Watson is going to try and help out doctors with their diagnoses after accomplishing the feat of trouncing humans at Jeopardy. The task of applying Watson's abilities to medicine is obviously different and the artificial intelligence computer is being retrofitted to look at a list of symptoms and provide several answers that my fit the scenario taking all medical factors into consideration.
Herbert Chase, who is the professor of clinical medicine in Columbia's Department of Biomedical Informatics is working with IBM to get Watson ready for this new challenge. If they succeed the benefits to the medical profession would be immense.
Physorg - If the experiment works, Watson could give physicians immediate, accurate answers to unusual, head-scratching questions that come up in their daily practice and do so based not only on the latest published research, but also the blogosphere.
For example, while the general practitioner has a great breadth of knowledge, he or she may lack in-depth information about specific diseases or conditions. Similarly, a specialist may have that depth of knowledge but lack the breadth. “Watson has both, breadth and depth,” he says. “It can look up anything, in terms of breadth - bone disease, OBGYN, dermatology. But it also has incredible depth. And it can bring to the primary care physician the depth that he or she would not otherwise have access to.”
More details on how doctors intend to further use such powerful computers in the future to help with healthcare and how Watson is faring can be found here.