For the last couple of years, scientists at IBM have been developing what they expect will be the world’s most advanced “Question Answering” machine.
This machine will take artificial intelligence to the next level by being able to understand a question posed in human natural language, as scientists call it — and respond with a precise and factual answer. In other words, it must do more than what search engines like Google and Bing do, which is merely point to a document where you might find the answer. It should be able to pluck out the correct answer itself.
Technologists have long regarded this sort of artificial intelligence as a holy grail, because it would allow machines to converse more naturally with people, letting us ask questions instead of typing keywords.
So here we have, much smarter than you think, the current AI revolution – IBM Watson!!
What exactly is IBM Watson?
Watson isn’t a software program or a single algorithm or an actual physical supercomputer sitting in a room somewhere at IBM. It is much more than that.
Watson is a question answering super computer which was developed by IBM to apply ~
- Advanced Natural Language processing;
- Information retrieval;
- Knowledge Representation;
- Automated reasoning and;
- Machine learning technologies to the field of open domain question answering.
The initial goal of IBM Watson is to be able to answer Jeopardy questions.
Jeopardy question can be complex, usually requiring the contestant to put several facts together. Fortunately, for Watson, the answers are formatted very simply. In this case the answer is “Who is Steve Young”. Watson simply has to return a fact. It is not necessary for Watson to explain anything.
How IBM Watson is going to change the future of the healthcare industry?
The suite of capabilities Watson brings to bear on healthcare problems is large and complex.
- Watson’s natural language, hypothesis generation, and evidence-based learning capabilities allow it to function as a ‘Clinical decision support system’ for use by medical professionals.
To aid physicians in the treatment of their patients, a doctor can pose a query to the system describing symptoms and other related factors.
IBM Watson first parses the input to identify the most important pieces of information; then mines patient data to find facts relevant to the patient’s medical and hereditary history; then examines available data sources to form and test hypotheses; and finally provides a list of individualized, confidence-scored recommendations.
In September 2011, IBM and WellPoint, a major American healthcare solutions provider, announced a partnership to utilize Watson’s data crunching capability to help suggest treatment options to doctors. Then, in February 2013, IBM and WellPoint gave Watson its first commercial application, for utilization management decisions in lung cancer treatment at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center. This can be a revolutionizing invention for cancer patients.
IBM announced a partnership with Cleveland Clinic in October 2012. The company has sent Watson to the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University, where it will increase its health expertise and assist medical professionals in treating patients. The medical facility will utilize Watson’s ability to store and process large quantities of information to help speed up and increase the accuracy of the treatment process.
IBM Watson is an amazing achievement. It shows how many different technologies and data sources can be used together. IBM Watson also showcases some interesting computer technologies and databases that have wide application beyond just Watson. Watson is just the beginning to the new era of artificial intelligence.