IBM’s Doctor In A Box

This entry was posted by Wednesday, 7 November, 2012
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DR. KNOW-IT-ALL

What if your doctor knew everything?

Instead of just acting like he did.

I mean what if your physician ACTUALLY had all those studies and papers – all the latest stuff – in his.her head?

Nobody’s saying doctors aren’t smart but they can’t be up on every possible disease or every possible drug. Nobody could keep all that information “upstairs”.

Except for Dr. Watson.

The latest incarnation of  Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, takes in the Internet as well as other sources of up-to-date medical information, sorts out all the useful stuff, and  shares this with busy medical professionals as it is needed. Easy access to everything. And an algorithm to help.

Maybe you remember Watson. From Jeopardy. Watson was a contestant on the show and trounced  all the other (human) players.

They never had a chance.

IBM now wants to get Watson in the medical game, offering direct help as well as second opinions to physicians. Maybe, eventually, aiding and abetting the delivery of primary health care. (This, by the way, is from Brandon Kleim, Wired Magazine).

Would it work? Is this a good idea? Well… doctors do make mistakes.

No. I’m serious. It can happen.

Like.. all the time.

Thousands of errors every year. People who should get better, don’t. People who should go home, die. Not knocking the docs. They are amazing. But nobody’s perfect, right?

“I am. I am.” (Shut UP Watson!)

Okay. That’s the idea, anyway – that a machine, indefatigable, without human biases, with always up-to-date information – can offer useful assistance to healthcare providers.

So.

Nobody’s threatened by THAT idea, right?

One of the doctors quoted in the article above reminds us that doctors have enough knowledge. No need to waste electricity. We’re fine here.

Mister ScienceAintSoBad will stand aside while the geniuses from medical school figure this out. Some would say that most medical errors can’t be prevented this way. Well, guess what? This one’s inevitable. Watson, Shmatson. Eventually? The strong right arm of every physician will be his Doctor In A Box.

I’m right on this.

Trust me.

Love,

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad.

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