Points of View

IBM Watson: A Sherlock to Today’s Medical Research with Spectacular Potential

Dec 3, 2015 Phil Fersht Barbra McGann Dr. Stephen J. Crocker

Research at HfS clearly shows that Artificial intelligence, also termed as “Cognitive Computing,” is expected to play an ever-increasing role in our personal lives and our society. Recent survey data from HfS of 716 industry stakeholders across North American and Europe shows that 56% of enterprise managers already see Cognitive Computing as a significant enabler to their move to the As-a-Service Economy within the next two years.


The poster child of Cognitive Computing is arguably IBM Watson, a computing platform that initially garnered public attention and interest with its exploits playing the knowledge quiz game show, Jeopardy. In the past few years, this platform has been tested for relevance to medical research. In particular, it has been incorporated into the medical programs for guiding cancer treatment at institutions like Sloan Kettering Memorial Cancer Center and University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and another 14, including Cleveland Clinic, subscribed to it this year to aid in choosing and personalizing therapies for cancer patients. In this report, we cover the basis and evidence for advances in Cognitive Computing, and how they may influence the future of medical education, scientific research and clinical trials.

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