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IBM Says Future Computers Will Be Constant Learners


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David Ferrucci

IBM Fellow David Ferrucci, who led the development of the Watson artificial intelligence technology.

Credit: IBM

Tomorrow's computers will constantly improve their understanding of the data they work with, which will help them provide users with more appropriate information, predicts IBM fellow David Ferrucci, who led the development of IBM's Watson artificial intelligence technology.

Computers in the future "will not necessarily require us to sit down and explicitly program them, but through continuous interaction with humans they will start to understand the kind of data and the kind of computation we need," according to Ferrucci.

He says the key to the Watson technology is that it queries both itself and its users for feedback on its answers. "As you use the system, it will follow up with you and ask you questions that will help improve its confidence of its answer," Ferrucci notes.

IBM is now working with Columbia University researchers to adapt Watson so it can offer medical diagnosis and treatment. Watson could serve as a diagnostic assistant and offer treatment plans, says Columbia professor Herbert Chase. Watson also could find clinical trials for the patient to participate in. "Watson has bridged the information gap, and its potential for improving health care and reducing costs is immense," Chase says.

From IDG News Service
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