Tags: Cancer | ibm | dr watson | unsafe | cancer | recommendations

IBM's Dr. Watson Gave 'Unsafe, Incorrect' Cancer Recommendations, Docs Show

IBM's Dr. Watson Gave 'Unsafe, Incorrect' Cancer Recommendations, Docs Show
(Tzogia Kappatou/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Friday, 27 July 2018 12:06 PM

IBM’s “Dr.” Watson supercomputer reportedly gave “unsafe, incorrect” cancer recommendations, according to internal company documents reviewed by Stat News.

Watson was once touted as the future of cancer research, with the machine intended as a personal adviser for cancer patients, offering personalized advice and answering questions using a combination of voice recognition and natural-language processing.

However, the system is failing to meet expectations, and this latest report highlights its shortcomings.

Strong criticism for the Watson for Oncology system was revealed in a review of internal company documents from IBM that were presented by IBM Watson’s former deputy health chief Andrew Norden last year, according to Gizmodo.

The documents, which were allegedly shared with IBM Watson Health management, stated that the machine often made inaccurate suggestions, which raised “serious questions about the process for building content and the underlying technology.”

A case in point is one of a 65-year-old man diagnosed with lung cancer who seemed to have severe bleeding.

According to Gizmodo, Watson suggested the patient be administered both chemotherapy and the drug “Bevacizumab,” however, the drug is known to cause “severe or fatal hemorrhage” and should not be given to people with severe bleeding.

A spokesperson from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center defended the incident, stating it was just part of system testing and the recommendation was not given to a real patient.

This is not the first time that IBM and Watson have come under fire.

Social Capital CEO and founder Chamath Palihapitiya told CNBC last year that Watson was a joke and that IMB was excellent at “using their sales and marketing infrastructure to convince people who have asymmetrically less knowledge to pay for something.”

In a previous investigation, Stat News reported that Watson was struggling with the basic step of learning the different forms of cancer and that only a handful of hospitals had even bothered to adopt the system.

Responding to the negative reports, an IBM spokesperson told Gizmodo that Watson for Oncology is being used by 230 hospitals around the world, and has “supported care for more than 84,000 patients.”

The spokesperson added that they have “learned and improved Watson Health based on continuous feedback from clients, new scientific evidence, and new cancers and treatment alternatives.”

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IBM’s “Dr.” Watson supercomputer reportedly gave “unsafe, incorrect” cancer recommendations, according to internal company documents reviewed by Stat News.
ibm, dr watson, unsafe, cancer, recommendations
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2018-06-27
Friday, 27 July 2018 12:06 PM
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