Jeopardy-Winning Supercomputer Watson Turns Its Sights To Medicine

After beating the world’s best Jeopardy! players, IBM’s Watson supercomputer will now help doctors diagnose patients and advise a course of treatment.

IBM said that the company will be able to analyse a patient's complaints and symptoms, suggest what might be wrong and recommend measures to cure the patient.

The company has hired a doctor to help the company populate the medical data stored in the supercomputer which could be used to diagnose patients. The data will include case studies, files, medical text book, journals and even medical blog entries on the web. The computer will also be able to link to electronic health records that hospitals need to maintain.

A team of medical students is preparing a set of questions for Watson to analyse and answer as the project progress. IBM estimates that it would take at least two years for Watson to be fully prepared to enter the medical field.

“Advances in medicine are increasing rapidly: genomics, specialized drugs, off-label uses, increasingly finer-grained classifications of disease," said Carl Kesselman, director of the Health Informatics Center at the University of Southern California, said in a statement to AP.

"The ability to ask Jeopardy!-style questions and get that kind of information retrieval, to sort through all the stuff out there and point you to the latest literature, would be of potentially huge value."