That pun was intended. [rant start here].
Computers are slowly but surely edging into “human territory”. I’m actually glad we’re starting to feel what the mountain lions and bears have felt for years… getting “squeezed out”, in the name of “progress”. I don’t have to guess who’s coming to club this baby seal: United Health Care, BCBC, CMS, Humana (there’s a laugh), et al are (and have been for years).
For those unfamiliar (anyone not know what “Jeopardy is?), Jeopardy! is a North American quiz show featuring trivia in multiple topics. It’s designed to show you there actually were kids who paid attention in school. It also sells corporate ads to everyone’s joy and profit.
Recently, IBM's Watson super computer brain was able to defeat two of Jeopardy's most acclaimed game show champions. One of the human champions had won ‘Jeopardy!’ a mind-blowing 74 times in a row, with over 3 million dollars in prize money… It’s good to know though, Watson got beaten by a human in the following round.
It really wasn’t a “fair” competition. That’s because Watson had access to the net and could, by virtue of it’s “size” parse the facts, and get an answer and phrase it as a question faster (at least in the first round. That is an impressive result, but let’s remember: Watson didn’t have to keep a living body living while it did it’s wonders, it was supplied all it’s needs, and it’s “brain” and “memory” work nothing like the way our biologic ones do. In fact, about the only similarity is that enthalpy is an enemy to us both. It also took humans to create Watson, not vice versa. Watson can be ‘expanded’, people can’t. Fast food doesn’t count: It’s not brain food, and that kind of ‘expansion’ does not occur between the ears but rather below them.
Watson To Help Determine Condition, Treatment Options
While the technology that powers Watson presents a world of new possibilities, those in the medical profession (for whom IBM is hoping will be the first to utilize the system) should rejoice at its proposed price tag. The first one is “free”. So are your first few bags of “H”.
The way I see it, this is a sort of “intellectual girdle”.
Huh? Yes: There are a few ways to fix a saggy gut… the most healthful is exercise; the least: A girdle (it only makes the abdominal wall weaker). Turns out there’s no such thing as free lunch. Who could have guessed?
I do advocate for it in cases where the physician and consultants are stumped and the patient needs help: But what you see in “House” is kind of exaggerated. What’s rare is rare for a reason: It’s rare.
“IBM hopes that Watson-like systems will help doctors and other health care professionals sift through an endless sea of patient information to determine how to best treat conditions that are specific to each individual.” I’d suggest adding only this: When asked. Now, having written that, I’m on the corporate s-list. Maybe DHS’s too. Who determines which are the important little (or large) fishies in that “sea of data”? A machine. Unfortunately, a machine won’t and can’t think “ouside the box” (good pun). Yet. This will cause a certain loss rate among the pesky biological units. Oh well…
Did I really just check for black helicopters? Reynolds Wrap here I come.
You see, it’s only that I know that once the camel can get its nose under the tent, it’s a very short time before you’re outside, and camel is in the tent. I told them that 30 years ago. They laughed. They aren’t laughing now. (“They” = “Other M.D.’s). It’s happened to Karen, and I kinda miss interacting with human transcription.
Insurance Companies will drive it: “Shorter stays, lower price tags and better/safer outcomes.” Sound familiar? It’s “Poppa John’s Pizza” ad. Why not? Hospital patients are “Guests”. Doctors are “Gatekeepers” and “Providers”. Newspeak. Actually? Doublethink. “War is Peace”, “Ignorance is Strength”.
In other words, “a physician treating a patient could use the analytic technology of Watson, together with voice and clinical language comprehension software, to reference patient history, related cases and the latest medical journals to determine the best option for diagnosis and treatment.”
Why a physician? Train a monkey. [I hope the munkeh is ok… haven’t stopped hoping he and his are well…]
“The decoding of patient information from physician to physician is a needless obstacle in the medical profession. Some doctors use abbreviations and short-text explanations that exacerbate the translation process from anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour.” (Source: computerworld.com). Another problem: We breathe.
“With Watson, IBM is hoping that this “wasted” time is reduced to mere seconds.”
In addition to its time-saving and “innovative” features, ‘Watson’-like systems are supposedly relatively cheap by medical standards. Face it: In the long run, humans are more expensive. Get rid of us all.
“The actual Watson super computer comprised 90 IBM Power 750 Express servers powered by 8-core processors. Multiply that by four in each server and Watson was running 32 processors per machine, and a grand total of 2,880 processing cores (roughly equivalent to 2,880 single-core CPUs, or 2,880 PCs running a single-core processor). Considering the fact that a Power 750 server currently costs $34,500, the 90 that make up Watson would sell for about $3 million -- far too much for the average individual, but not that expensive given the current cost of most medical equipment.” (Source: networkworld.com)
IBM is hoping that Watson-like super computers will be ready for hospital use in about two year's time.
With increasing patient dissatisfaction with waiting room time, labs and imaging that don’t get back before their visit and dealing with office and professional staff who are increasingly pressured and harassed by “the system” and the trolls in government and corporate sectors, I have a plan: Let’s just say it involves a conveyor belt, preapproved ‘raw material’ (viz. ‘clients’, aka ‘patients’), fast and slow lanes, huge machines and needles/tubes and sampling/imaging/sensing devices, ‘supervised’ treatment and at the end of it, shrink wrap optional packaging… until the next “go around”. All for your own good.
Sort of gives a sardonic twist to “Jeopardy!”, doesn’t it?