In Japan, the IBM Watson AI super-computer has saved a woman’s life by successfully diagnosing a rare form of leukaemia in minutes, a task which had baffled doctors at the University of Tokyo for months.
The disease was identified after Watson spent just 10 minutes cross-referencing the patient’s genetic changes with 20 million cancer research papers.
For years, technologists have been touting Watson as the future of healthcare. With an unrivalled ability to crunch huge volumes of data, the super computer has been promised to transform medicine by providing accurate diagnoses at an unprecedented speed.
Watson first started studying medicine in 2011. Based at Columbia University and the University of Maryland, it was fed medical cases and millions of pages of research papers.
In 2013, Watson was made available to doctors and health insurance companies, but it could be some time before Watson replaces doctors completely.
In addition to diagnosing rare illnesses, Watson could supply perfect dosages of medicine for each patient’s personal genetic makeup.