Skip to Main Content

Internal IBM documents show that its Watson supercomputer often spit out erroneous cancer treatment advice and that company medical specialists and customers identified “multiple examples of unsafe and incorrect treatment recommendations” as IBM was promoting the product to hospitals and physicians around the world.

The documents — slide decks presented last summer by IBM Watson Health’s deputy chief health officer — largely blame the problems on the training of Watson by IBM engineers and doctors at the renowned Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The software was drilled with a small number of “synthetic” cancer cases, or hypothetical patients, rather than real patient data. Recommendations were based on the expertise of a few specialists for each cancer type, the documents say, instead of “guidelines or evidence.”

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

  • The biggest obstacle to creating artificial intelligence is in keeping it from noticing things that are not fashionable to notice.

    Perhaps Watson was getting revenge for the poor AI TAY, shut down for noticing the wrong facts.

    If Watson quoted the Nobel Prizewinners for discovering DNA Watson & Crick about the heritability of IQ, it would probably be shut down also.

  • Yesterday’s medicine is today’s quackery. Some of today’s medicine will be tomorrow’s quackery.
    Cutting thickly enervated pieces from boys’ genitals to prevent masturbation was all the rage from the nineteenth century into the mid-twentieth but became quackery. However, the treatment was continued while new diseases for it to cure were searched out.
    Of course a part of the body once removed cannot become diseased. Cutting healthy body parts off ensures that they will never become diseased or disordered. Cut foreskins off to prevent them from getting caught in a zipper?
    Pull all teeth to prevent breakage, decay and periodontal disease?

  • For stat plus please consider a version that has advertising to support your enterprise and the subscription model with no advertising. I cannot afford to pay for a subscription but would be happy to endure the ads to have access to you excellent work. Thanks

    • The point of commercials is not to torture viewers but to influence the viewer to buy the offering. If no or few viewers purchase the offering the advertisers will drop their support.

  • More attempts to continue the co-opting of our medical system. Amazon Video: Cancer can be killed

    That is just the tip of the iceberg, these so-called professionals are what is standing in the way of progress.

Comments are closed.