Thursday, February 28, 2013

This Seems To Be A Trend That Is Only Growing In Importance. It Will Be Fun To Watch.

The momentum with IBM’s Watson is really growing.
We have this report here:

Computer-aided medicine

Doctor Watson

Feb 14th 2013, 16:10 by T.C. | LONDON AND NEW YORK
TWO years ago IBM attracted a lot of admiring publicity when its “Watson” program beat two human champions at "Jeopardy!", an American general-knowledge quiz. It was a remarkable performance. Computers have long excelled at games like chess: in 1997 Deep Blue, another of the computer giant's creations, famously beat the reigning world champion Garry Kasparov. But "Jeopardy!" relies on the ability to correlate a vast store of general knowledge with often-punny, indirect clues. Making things hardest still, the clues themselves are, famously, phrased as answers, to which contestants must supply an appropriate question.
Yet IBM has always had bigger plans for its artificial know-it-all than beating humans at quiz shows. On February 8th it announced the first of them. Together with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre, an American charity, and Wellpoint, a health company, it plans to adapt the system for oncologists, with trials due to begin in two clinics. The idea is to use the machine as a sort of prosthetic brain for doctors, by delegating to it the task of keeping up with medical literature.
What is really impressive about Watson is not so much that it thrashes humans, but how it does so. The machine extracts “meaning” from vast quantities of what computer scientists call unstructured data, which essentially means anything designed to be consumed by humans rather than computers. To prepare for its "Jeopardy!" appearances, the program was fed (among other things) dictionaries, archives of newspaper articles, lexical databases of English and the whole of Wikipedia. From these it was able to extract relationships between concepts and become deft enough with metaphors, similes or puns that it could cope with the show’s elliptical clues.
It is this ability to process human-oriented information that IBM hopes will be useful for doctors. The volume of medical research is huge and growing. According to one estimate, to keep up with the state of the art, a doctor would have to devote 160 hours a week to perusing papers, leaving eight hours for sleep, work and, well, everything else in life. Fortunately, Watson doesn't need any sleep.
More here:
Here is another report on the same topic.

IBM's Watson Supercomputer Bears Arms to Battle Cancer

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-02-08
IBM's Watson supercomputer celebrated the second anniversary of its trouncing human competitors on "Jeopardy" with the announcement of two new medical applications aimed at helping battle cancer.
In the past year, IBM has partnered separately with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and WellPoint to develop Watson health care products starting in the areas of oncology and utilization management. Now IBM, MSK and WellPoint have announced the latest advancements based on their collaboration, including unveiling the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing breakthroughs. These innovations stand to help transform the quality and speed of care delivered to patients through individualized, evidence-based medicine.
"Today, I join IBM, our partner WellPoint and many other health care leaders in New York City to mark a milestone on the path to bringing the power of Watson to oncology care," Dr. Mark Kris, chief of Thoracic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, wrote in a blog post. "In collaboration with IBM and WellPoint, we will unveil the first commercially developed Watson-based cognitive computing system that is being taught by Memorial Sloan-Kettering experts. We believe these innovations will help transform the quality and speed of care for patients and enhance research to lead to more cures."
"IBM's work with WellPoint and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center represents a landmark collaboration in how technology and evidence-based medicine can transform the way in which health care is practiced," Manoj Saxena, IBM's general manager for Watson solutions, said in a statement. "These breakthrough capabilities bring forward the first in a series of Watson-based technologies, which exemplifies the value of applying big data and analytics and cognitive computing to tackle the industry's most pressing challenges."
Lots more here:
and we have a different AI approach here:

AI found better than doctors at diagnosing, treating patients

AI can think like a doctor, but faster and with more information, Indiana U. researchers find

February 12, 2013 05:32 PM ET
Computerworld - Applying the same technologies used for voice recognition and credit card fraud detection to medical treatments could cut healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes by almost 50%, according to new research.
The research by Indiana University found that using patient data with machine-learning algorithms can drastically improve both the cost and quality of healthcare through simulation modeling.
The computer models simulated numerous alternative treatment paths out into the future and continually planned and replanned treatment as new information became available. In other words, it can "think like a doctor," according to the university.
This is not the first time artificial intelligence has been brought to bear on healthcare.
Last year, IBM announced that its Watson supercomputer would be used in evaluating evidence-based cancer treatment options for physicians, driving the decision-making process down to a matter of seconds. The Watson supercomputer was first offered to Cedars-Sinai's Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute in Los Angeles. Later that year, Watson was brought in to help Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center physicians diagnose and treat cancer patients.
The new research at Indiana University was non-disease-specific -- it could work for any diagnosis or disorder, simply by plugging in the relevant information. The research is aimed at addressing three issues related to healthcare in the United States: Rising costs expected to reach 30% of the gross domestic product by 2050; quality of care where patients receive the correct diagnosis and treatment less than half the time on a first visit; and a lag time of 13 to 17 years between research and practice in clinical care, the university said.
Lots more here:
It is clearly going to be interesting to keep an eye on what comes out of all these efforts - especially in terms of clinical outcomes - which is, of course, the name of the game.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

IBM is really deep into marketing mode here - Watson has yet to be evaluated apart from one paper in one journal which showed fairly modest performance when compared to state of the art. But as long as IBM can use the Watson name and get in the press, they are not going to stop. Nothing at all wrong with the vision, but they didn't come up with it, not are they doing anything remarkable to date in advancing it, apart from spruiking. I look forward to any robust evaluation of the technology compared to standard benchmark methods.