Understand how the super power of Watson processing, IBM can help in the treatment of disease
The scenario seems out of a science fiction movie: a doctor talk with your computer on the case of a cancer patient, as if before a colleague. He shares his impressions and ask questions using their native language. The computer system understands the conversation and, from the information received, access a vast database of millions of pages of medical literature and similar cases. After processing the data, it responds to the doctor, also in natural language. This scenario, although futuristic look, based on the cognitive computing technology that moves systems such as Watson, IBM.
Through partnerships with medical centers around the world, begins to be created a “cloud” of knowledge about cancer, a huge online database with millions of pages of information, academic texts and medical journals. This database can be accessed by means of natural language, and all information crossing work and scenario, which will give the user the result of his research, is processed by the electronic brain…
Doctors bet on artificial intelligence against cancer
“The cognitive computing enables the computer to learn how the human brain works and uses this knowledge,” says José Augusto Stuchi, senior researcher and head of the Cognitive Technology Platform Research and Development in Telecommunications Center (CPqD), one of the largest research centers IT in Latin America, located in Campinas, São Paulo. “The big advantage is that, based on a few examples, the system can generalize.”
In April this year, the American Cancer Society has partnered with IBM’s artificial intelligence division to add further knowledge to Watson, which will be integrated into cloud institution. Altogether, there are about 14 000 pages of information related to cancer treatment, focused on supporting patients in treatment and survivors who can access this data by means of natural language, or talking to the computer. In the future, this technology may also be integrated into tablets and smartphones.
The system became feasible thanks to the unique characteristics of cognitive computing – an artificial intelligence that understands unstructured data (such as spoken language, text and images) and can establish new insights without being programmed to act in a certain way, as traditional computers. Thus, the machine can work with much of the knowledge produced about cancer treatment and offer patients and doctors a new look, with high precision.
“It is difficult to analyze the huge amount of data we collect,” says Craig Thompson, president of Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, a pioneering research center of the US cancer, located in New York, and one of the main references in the area. The hospital was one of the first IBM partners in the use of Watson in oncology.
Watson helps doctors determine the best plan of action for the treatment of a certain type of cancer based on evidence. The oncologist accesses the database and study possible alternatives, provided based on a collection of previous cases. The artificial intelligence does all the analysis work. “Having the information and wisdom at your fingertips turn every physician in the most experienced professional in the world at that particular problem,” says Larry Norton, chief of breast cancer department at the Memorial Sloan Kettering.
“Watson has the ability to analyze large volumes of information and reduce them to critical decision points. This is essential to improve our ability to deliver effective therapies and disseminate this information to the world,” says Thompson. How is capable of learning, as well as the human brain, the system can be powered with an unlimited amount of data. mathematical learning algorithms give the work account. The more examples receive, the better the development of effective treatments, based on previous cases. The final decision shall lie to the doctors, but they take on a much larger amount of information analyzed.
With the union of cognitive computing and cloud on the internet that stores all the information, doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering believe that this technology will provide a medical revolution that will not be limited to some American centers. “This has the potential to completely change the way we conduct the medicine in the world,” says Larry Norton. “It’s a revolutionary step.“