IBM's Watson uses hospital data to save a patient's life; Apple's latest acquisition is an AI startup company. Supercomputer Watson isn't just really smart; it's a life saver
(Photo from IBM)
Remember super computer Watson by IBM? He's best known for beating Ken Jennings on Jeopardy and has even taken up cooking in his spare time. But Watson's latest achievement is probably its greatest yet: saving a woman's life. Doctors at the University of Tokyo's Institute of Medical Science used the AI as part of a new method to conduct a diagnosis. The system includes a computer program with the ability to analyze a large volume of medical data.
Watson correctly diagnosed a rare form of leukemia in a 60-year-old women that was incorrectly identified months earlier. She was previously treated for acute myeloid leukemia, which proved unsuccessful and left doctors confused. How did Watson do it? It compared the patient's genetic changes with a database of 20 million cancer research papers. Watson struck gold twice and diagnosed another rare form of leukemia in another patient later on.
It sounds unbelievable, yet it doesn't mean the AI is ready to be installed in hospitals around the world. Watson managed to get it right twice, but there are still concerns it won't be right every time. Still, this revelation shows how useful the technology could be in a hospital setting. It saves doctors time from searching through hundreds and hundreds of volumes for the right answer. This is just one of many examples of how AI is proving to be useful. Apple must have caught on considering their latest investment.
Tech giant Apple bought Seattle based startup Turi, a company that specializes in machine learning. Though the company tried to keep details hush-hush, the price of the acquisition got out: $200 million. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said Apple in a statement. At this time, Turi's team will stay in Seattle and become more robust, while Apple expands its reaches into science and AI technology.
So far it's unknown what Apple plans to do with Turi, but it's widely believed the company will use AI for their apps and programs. AI technology could give Siri different ways to interact with people and it could be used to recommend songs or apps to users. If anything, it's a step forward in Apple's plan to expand into the field of AI technology. This new acquisition can connect them with a growing community of AI researchers, which would prove beneficial.
But are we really surprised whenever Apple takes over another company? They've made about 15 acquisitions since 2015, including Perceptio and VocallQ, which are also AI startups. 2016 saw Apple acquire Emotient, a facial recognition start up; LearnSprout, an education startup; Flyby Media, a spatial perception startup; and LegbaCore, a firmware security startup. Apple aims to be on top of the latest technology trends, so it's not surprising they want the ability to do it all. Hopefully, they'll do something innovative with the AI instead of making the iPad even smaller, or bigger depending on which is more popular.
Have a story tip? Message me at: