For those of you who might wonder why is the computer called “Watson”, here's little background that might lead to some interesting reading. Dr. Watson has been around a long time. Actually the first Dr. Watson appeared with IBM as a program used with dos and and other networking platforms and was called DWTNDA. In 1994 Dr. Watson was recognized as the product of the year. If you want to read more about the history, follow this link. In addition the founder of IBM was named Thomas J. Watson, so there’s a few cousins running around out there.
This Watson also has another distant cousin on the Microsoft side and anyone who has perhaps encountered any major issues with Windows may have heard of this Dr. Watson who’s primary function is to debug. Now this Windows Dr. Watson is names after Doctor Watson of the Sherlock Holmes fame so we know how brilliant he was and thus we have Dr. Watson in Windows since 1995, so as you can see the name Watson is pretty popular.
What I found interesting too in reading about the Jeopardy game was the fact that they had to disconnect the Watson computer from the web, otherwise it would have even had a bigger advantage by searching the web too, so in staying with that thought if you added this capability to such a computer technology for use in healthcare, you can see what a wealth or maybe overload at other times could appear.
Actually Nuance and IBM integration is not new but perhaps the “Watson” integration is as back in January of 2009 this announcement was made about how they were planning to incorporate IBM technology into Nuance’s speech solutions. I remember the old IBM Via Voice program and used t have it on my cell phone a few years ago.
One thing for sure speech recognition and how we interact with computers is certainly up for a lot of changes. Over the years I doing this blog Nuance has just about about bought up and competition in this area and also has purchased some similar speech technologies.
If you are in science, we already have Adam, who is the robotic scientist but he works mostly on his own without a lot of human intervention and chatter so who knows what would occur if Watson and Adam started talking to each other <grin>
I hope we do get a chance to try the technology out in healthcare if Wall Street doesn’t pay and scarf up the technology first for investor use. Here’s what Jon Steward had to say for another view. BD
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – IBM and Nuance Communications today announced a partnership to explore developing the analytical capabilities of IBM's super computer Watson for applications in the healthcare field and a potential role in personalized medicine.
The effort will combine IBM's Deep Question Answering, Natural Language Processing, and Machine Learning capabilities with Nuance's speech recognition and Clinical Language Understanding solutions. The partners believe the combined technologies can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients by providing hospitals, physicians, and payers access to critical and timely information.