Thursday, February 2, 2017

IBM's Watson in Healthcare

                In the article we learn about a 60-year-old female who lives in Tokyo and has a rare form of cancer. She’s had it for 6 years, was still alive, but wasn’t healthy. The doctors decided to bring in IBM’s Watson and it was able to cross reference 20 million other cancer research papers and diagnose what was wrong with her in 10 minutes… Something doctors were unable to do for 6 years. This is something that could save the lives of a countless number of people. People don’t believe that robots will replace doctors soon, but they do believe that it is very possible in the near future.
              In addition to being able to diagnose rare illnesses, Watson could supply perfect dosages of medicine for each patient’s personal genetic makeup. But the only way this is possible, is if Watson could access a huge repository of DNA data, which raises serious concerns about patients’ privacy. This seems like a groundbreaking thing, being that this only happened this past August this is a very recent occurrence. I have to agree that robots like Watson should be more heavily integrated into situations like this. However, I can also see people being skeptical about a robot figuring out what’s wrong with them rather than a human. But in this first run through, it only took Watson 10 minutes after 6 years of trying to figure it out, which is hard to argue with. Watson only began studying medicine in 2011, so we can only imagine what he will be able to do in 10 more years or even just 5.

             Being someone that’s had a lot of family members (and even dogs) be diagnosed with cancer, I believe that this is ethical and an amazing upgrade to what we’re doing nowadays. However, I don’t believe that robots should replace doctors in whole. There is an important bond between a doctor and patient that I don’t believe can be replicated with a robot. Robots like Watson have the unique ability to save the lives of people and even make doctor’s jobs easier. Something like this seems like a win-win for everyone involved, and I hope that they take the next step with this, by starting to put a Watson-type robot in hospitals. It seems like a no-brainer type decision, and it would help us take medicine to the next level. With the unreal ability to crunch data and learn, Watson is the future of healthcare and it can’t get here fast enough.

To read the article, you can go to:

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