IBM’s supercomputer Watson, an artificial intelligence-based cognitive computing program, is receiving mixed reviews a month after being introduced to Korean medical institutions.
Gachon University Gil Medical Center in Incheon became the first medical institute in Korea to utilize artificial intelligence to examine and treat cancer patients since October.
Over the past 12 days, the hospital said Watson has been used to diagnose 85 cancer patients, receiving positive reviews from both patients and medical staff.
A doctor at Gachon University Gil Medical Center in Incheon uses IBM’s supercomputer Watson to help diagnose a patient. (Gil Medical Center)
“We were very surprised by Watson’s results, as they were consistent with our own conclusions,” a professor of neurosurgery at Gil Medical Center told Yonhap News Agency.
According to the medical center, Watson’s biggest advantage in patient care is its ability to scour vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. Once a patient’s personal information is entered into the supercomputer, Watson can complete its medical data analysis in a matter of seconds -- scanning through millions of pages of specialized data, including hundreds of medical journals and textbooks.
However, not all local medical professionals are praising Watson’s artificial intelligence mechanisms. IBM’s supercomputer is facing criticism from medical experts who say the program is being seen as a substitute to human diagnostics, despite how it is still limited to treatment-based limited programing and data entered by humans.
Officials at Gil Medical Center stated that Watson is merely being used as an assistant to improve the convenience and accuracy of its hospital’s care, claiming other medical professionals are “overly exaggerating” the computer’s power as a replacement for human doctors.
Regardless of the ongoing disputes over AI in the medical field, the overall consensus on IBM’s supercomputer is still up for debate. Since the computer’s introduction late last year, with the exception of Gil Medical Center, no other major Korean medical institutions are publically reviewing cases with the help of Watson.
By Julie Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org