IBM’s Retreat From Watson Highlights Broader AI Struggles in Health


Ten years in the past, Worldwide Enterprise Machine Corp.’s synthetic intelligence system Watson bested people on the quiz present “Jeopardy!”

The feat was alleged to herald a shift in the best way machines served up solutions to questions large and small, opening up new income streams for Massive Blue particularly and Massive Tech extra typically. A key goal: healthcare, a trillion-dollar business many say is saddled with inefficiencies that some tech advocates say AI might remedy.

A decade later, actuality has fallen in need of that promise. IBM is now exploring the sale of Watson Well being, a unit whose marquee product was supposed to assist docs diagnose and remedy most cancers.

IBM spent a number of billion {dollars} on acquisitions to construct up Watson. Former senior IBM govt John Kelly as soon as touted the initiative as a “guess the ranch” transfer. It didn’t stay as much as the hype. Watson Well being has struggled for market share within the U.S. and overseas and at present isn’t worthwhile.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google DeepMind unit, which famously developed a Go-playing algorithm that vanquished a champion human participant in 2016, later launched a number of healthcare-related initiatives targeted on persistent circumstances. It additionally has misplaced cash lately and run into privateness issues over how well being information was being collected.


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