Earlier this week we reported on IBM’s Watson supercomputer – the thinking engine that has just released its own cookbook. When out of the kitchen, Watson also manages to find the nanoseconds of time from its busy schedule to work with health professionals analyzing genetic sequences to build personalized medicines for patients.
A key step on the road to true artificial intelligence, Watson uses smart ways of thinking with language to identify and find links between data – learning as it goes as well as being able to study new information fed into it. This is why Apple is to work with the computer and its creator IBM to study the data gathered by the HealthKit app for Apple Watch.
As more and more data is created with HealthKit, the opportunity to have Watson apply its cognition to that data becomes more valid. Finding trends and establishing connections between things is Watson’s job – if say a lot of users start to get more active at 1pm in the afternoon, he’ll see the trend and send feedback to users who are active at 1pm to use that time for a nice jog.
All the data will be collected an anonymized so Watson can study it and look for patterns. he’s meticulous, and very quick – mostly because he’s the size of a large van.
“IBM will de-identify and store health data in a secure, scalable cloud system that enables researchers to access and share data in an open ecosystem environment, as well as have access to IBM’s data-mining and predictive analytics capabilities,” IBM said. “Health and fitness app developers and medical researchers will be able to draw on data at a scale that until now has never been available.”
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So not only will users benefit from the discovery of meaningful trends, but also students and graduates in the medical field might be able to use the data to study large groups of people without having to go through a survey… it’s not too much of an invasion of your privacy, since data is all bundled together, but no doubt in the future people may decide they have a problem with being surveyed behind the scenes.
However, the trends could also benefit users in other unexpected ways – that’s the thing about Watson. We, the humans, have created a computer ‘brain’ that manages to do things in ways even we don’t think of until it shows us. It’s truly exciting to watch unfold.