130 years later, Dr. Watson still a reliable sidekick

By Dodge Communications on June 16th, 2011

We’re all familiar with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Dr. Watson, the trusty sidekick of master detective Sherlock Holmes. Now, nearly a century and a half after the original publication of those stories, another Dr. Watson is following in the footsteps of his predecessor. Back in February, Jeopardy! held a special contest between two past champions and an IBM supercomputer named Watson. What was so revolutionary about Watson was that not only could he (it) process information nearly instantaneously and return answers with a high level of accuracy, but Watson was taught (programmed) to understand the nuances of the human language, which is important both in trivia and in everyday life. If you tuned into Jeopardy! on those nights, you know that the humans were no match for their mechanical counterpart.As Watson’s creators continue to improve the technology, IBM has said it intends for the supercomputer to enter the healthcare arena as a physician’s assistant. This article from Hospitals & Health Networks explains how Watson will be able to help physicians, especially when it comes to the quick and accurate diagnosis of patients.