Watson's Post-Jeopardy Future In Medicine

IBM's Jeopardy-crushing Watson has more than proven its ability to conquer game shows, but what now?

What is, "a research assistant on a medical diagnostic team?" Correct! At least, that's one of the many duties Watson could perform, says Stephen Baker, a Watson-covering blogger and author, in an article over at the Boston Globe:

A patient comes in with a puzzling set of symptoms. Watson launches a search through hundreds of thousands of journal articles and case studies. It returns with six possible diagnoses and its level of confidence in each one — along with links to the evidence it studied. Let's say two of those six are far-fetched... [d]octors know enough to rule out a few others. Still, if even one of those six possibilities leads the team toward plausible answers they hadn't considered, the machine will have done its job.

An excellent idea, to be sure, but what did that pretty princess say in that silly, unnecessary prequel about a galactic empire? Something about liberty and freedom dying not to the sounds of gunfire, but to thunderous applause?

Yeah, I have no idea why I thought about that while writing a post that celebrates a massive computer that just handed two humans their hats following a three-day trivia ass-kicking display on Jeopardy. No idea at all. [The Boston Globe via Boing Boing]