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’Jeopardy!’-winning computer delving into medicine

The Detroit News/Associated Press, May 23, 2011

Some guy in his pajamas, home sick with bronchitis and complaining online about it, could soon be contributing to a digital collection of medical information designed to help speed diagnoses and treatments. A doctor who is helping to prepare IBM's Watson computer system for work as a medical tool says such blog entries may be included in Watson's database. Watson is best known for handily defeating the world's best "Jeopardy!" players on TV earlier this year. IBM says Watson, with its ability to understand plain language, can digest questions about a person's symptoms and medical history and quickly suggest diagnoses and treatments. The company is still perhaps two years from marketing a medical Watson, and it says no prices have been established. But it envisions several uses, including a doctor simply speaking into a handheld device to get answers at a patient's bedside.