Teaching Watson

I don’t read Mashable, but someone tweeted this, so I checked it out. It has no sourcing or supporting links, which is disappointing. But the story is plausible and interesting.

Both the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and WellPoint have gotten themselves a Watson, and have been training them in the last year to apply its learning algorithms and vast computing power to helping patients. Similar to Siri, Watson was designed to give useful answers to natural-language questions. Rather than spitting back a series of links like a traditional search engine, Watson tries to find the single, correct answer to whatever it’s asked.

For Memorial Sloan-Kettering, that means giving Watson more than 600,000 pieces of medical evidence, two million pages of text from medical journals, and 1.5 million patient records to sift through before it was ready to answer real questions about cancer treatment. WellPoint got Watson up to speed with a similar data dump, including 14,700 hours of hands-on training from nurses.


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