Paging Dr. Expert-system

Ken Jennings reacts to being outsmarted on Jeopardy! by IBM’s computer “Watson” (h/t Ezra Klein):

IBM has bragged to the media that Watson’s question-answering skills are good for more than annoying Alex Trebek. The company sees a future in which fields like medical diagnosis, business analytics, and tech support are automated by question-answering software like Watson. Just as factory jobs were eliminated in the 20th century by new assembly-line robots, Brad and I were the first knowledge-industry workers put out of work by the new generation of “thinking” machines. “Quiz show contestant” may be the first job made redundant by Watson, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. [Bold mine.]

How long until the triage nurse has another option, Dr. Expert-system? It may sound like a joke today, but it could be a health care game changer tomorrow. IBM wants a piece of the action. Will Medicare reimburse?

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