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IBM's Watson computer trounced its carbon-based opponents during a special Jeopardy! match in 2011. (Photo from IBM).

AAMC to help IBM’s Watson develop health expertise

Anne Arundel Medical Center has signed up to help IBM’s supercomputer and game-show champ Watson sharpen its understanding of health data.

The artificial intelligence, which so memorably trounced its human competitors on Jeopardy! in 2011 and recently rubbed proverbial elbows with Bob Dylan, can analyze huge amounts of data and respond to complex questions posed to it in natural language.

Providing the computer with more information on various health conditions will improve its ability to draw conclusions and insights from that data, which should improve its ability to help physicians deliver care in the future, David Todd, the hospital’s medical staff director, said in a statement.

The sheer volume of medical data generated — it’s expected to double every 73 days by 2020 — means most of it is of little use because it takes time for people to analyze and interpret it. Watson, not being a person, doesn’t have that problem:The computer can read 40 million documents in 15 seconds, according to IBM.

Watson’s artificial intelligence, known as cognitive computing, could change the way physicians diagnose and treat patients, ultimately helping them manage costs more efficiently, Anne Le Grand, vice president of imaging for Watson Health, said in a statement.