Artificial intelligence and the personalization of cancer therapy

It appears that the ability of Watson to revolutionize the treatment of cancer and provide personalized information that would substantially improve the management of cancer for individual patients may have been over-hyped (click here).

4 Responses

  1. I do not think this is Watson’s fault. It appears that Watson’s ability to treat cancer on a personalized basis has been inhibited by our human intelligence. According to the report,

    “[Watson’s] treatment recommendations are not based on its own insights. … Instead, they are based exclusively on … human overseers who … feed Watson information about how patients … should be treated”.

    Garbage in. Garbage out.


  2. Dear Richard:

    I think you are making an assumption when you suggest that the clinicians at MSKCC are necessarily putting “garbage in”. That’s not what the article says at all. What the article says is that Watson doesn’t seem to be able to improve on the predictions of an average medical oncologist in South Florida based on all the information it has been fed. IBM promised that it would be able to make such improvements. That sounds like an information processing problem.

  3. Sitemaster,

    I was not intending to disparage any medical practitioners, especially those at MSKCC. If that is how my comment came across, I apologize. I used a poor choice of words (“garbage”). I meant that Watson has not yet been given the opportunity to use its powerful artificial intelligence, and instead, at this point in time, it is merely regurgitating the treatment options our best human minds have come up with. Thanks.


  4. Dear Richard:

    Well if Watson is just regurgitating the information it has been fed, then that is very definitely an information processing problem — either by Watson itself or by the people who are responsible for what Watson is being fed (who are the people at IBM, not the doctors at MSKCC).

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