Supercomputer and Jeopardy! Champion, Watson Embarks on a New Career in Medicine

By uploading medical journals, clinical guidelines and patient records into Watson's "brain," physicians are working closely with IBM to usher in the next generation of computer-assisted medicine. 

What's the Latest Development?


Watson, the IBM supercomputer famous for easily defeating its human competitors in the televised quiz show Jeopardy!, is set to enter the medical profession. Using its ability to analyze natural language, which allowed it to grasp the meaning of trivia questions, Watson will draw on information from medical journals, clinical guidelines and patient records to help doctors diagnose diseases more quickly and accurately. "The result will be a system that its creators say can suggest nuanced treatment plans that take into account factors like drug interactions and a patient's medical history."

What's the Big Idea?

Over the last few months, doctors working closely with IBM have been filling Watson's "brain" with medical data. The supercomputer's ability to analyze that data should prove especially useful to oncologists, who struggle to keep up with genomic and molecular data generated about different types of cancer. Beginning next year, Watson will also be used to approve patient treatments more quickly by using patient records and clinical guidelines to determine if a prescribed treatment is in line with hospital policy. While treatment approval can take nurses days to complete, Watson can return a decision in matter of minutes. 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Water may be an inevitable result of the process that forms rocky planets

New research identifies an unexpected source for some of earth's water.

Surprising Science
  • A lot of Earth's water is asteroidal in origin, but some of it may come from dissolved solar nebula gas.
  • Our planet hides majority of its water inside: two oceans in the mantle and 4–5 in the core.
  • New reason to suspect that water is abundant throughout the universe.
Keep reading Show less