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IBM Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors.

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This article is from 2013:

IBM's Watson -- the language-fluent computer that beat the best human champions at a game of the US TV show Jeopardy! -- is being turned into a tool for medical diagnosis. Its ability to absorb and analyse vast quantities of data is, IBM claims, better than that of human doctors, and its deployment through the cloud could also reduce healthcare costs.

The first stages of a planned wider deployment, IBM's business agreement with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and American private healthcare company Wellpoint will see Watson available for rent to any hospital or clinic that wants to get its opinion on matters relating to oncology. Not only that, but it'll suggest the most affordable way of paying for it in America's excessively-complex healthcare market. The hope is it will improve diagnoses while reducing their costs at the same time.

Two years ago, IBM announced that Watson had "learned" the same amount of knowledge as the average second-year medical student. For the last year, IBM, Sloan-Kettering and Wellpoint have been working to teach Watson how to understand and accumulate complicated peer-reviewed medical knowledge relating to oncology. That's just lung, prostate and breast cancers to begin with, but with others to come in the next few years). Watson's ingestion of more than 600,000 pieces of medical evidence, more than two million pages from medical journals and the further ability to search through up to 1.5 million patient records for further information gives it a breadth of knowledge no human doctor can match.

According to Sloan-Kettering, only around 20 percent of the knowledge that human doctors use when diagnosing patients and deciding on treatments relies on trial-based evidence. It would take at least 160 hours of reading a week just to keep up with new medical knowledge as it's published, let alone consider its relevance or apply it practically. Watson's ability to absorb this information faster than any human should, in theory, fix a flaw in the current healthcare model. Wellpoint's Samuel Nessbaum has claimed that, in tests, Watson's successful diagnosis rate for lung cancer is 90 percent, compared to 50 percent for human doctors.

Sloan-Kettering's Dr Larry Norton said: "What Watson is going to enable us to do is take that wisdom and put it in a way that people who don't have that much experience in any individual disease can have a wise counsellor at their side at all times and use the intelligence and wisdom of the most experienced people to help guide decisions."

The chief medical scientist on the IBM Watson medical team Marty Cohen talks about other ways Watson can save lives:

Watson is within striking distance of passing the U.S. medical board exam:

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