Skip to comments.IBM's Watson reportedly created unsafe cancer treatment plans
Posted on 07/29/2018 1:13:12 PM PDT by Steely Tom
Last year, studies presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology's annual meeting showed that IBM Watson was pretty darn good at creating treatment plans for cancer patients. Turns out, however, that the AI is still far from perfect: according to internal documents reviewed by health-oriented news publication Stat, some medical experts working with IBM on its Watson for Oncology system found "multiple examples of unsafe and incorrect treatment recommendations." In one particular case, a 65-year-old man was diagnosed a drug that could lead to "severe or fatal hemorrhage" even though he was already suffering from severe bleeding.
The report puts the blame on the IBM engineers and the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center doctors who helped train the AI. They reportedly fed Watson hypothetical patients' data and treatment recommendations by MSK doctors instead of real patients' information. The approach apparently didn't work as well as they'd hoped, with one Florida Jupiter Hospital doctor telling IBM upon testing the system that the product is "a piece of shit." It's worth noting, however, that MSK believes the example involving the 65-year-old patient was merely part of a system testing and not an actual recommendation.
Despite that Jupiter doctor's less-than-stellar review, a spokesperson told Gizmodo that the hospital still uses Watson's recommendations. Its doctors don't completely rely on the plans it cooks up, though, and see them as an extra opinion when they can't agree on a treatment. As for IBM, it knows that Watson for Oncology still needs work and has taken feedback from clients into consideration to roll out multiple software updates with updated features over the past year.
The company told the publication:
"...we have learned and improved Watson Health based on continuous feedback from clients, new scientific evidence, and new cancers and treatment alternatives. This includes 11 software releases for even better functionality during the past year, including national guidelines for cancers ranging from colon to liver cancer."
IBM has spent twenty years and billions of dollars promoting Watson as their flagship "next act" product technology. In particular, they have been very publicly promoting its future use for clinical-level health care in the mass market.
IBM has made itself the world-wide face of "Big AI," and now their flagship technology has been called "a piece of shit" by an MD who has had hands-on contact with it in the clinical environment.
This story is the technological equivalent of what accountants call a "going concern" letter. It means that IBM and MSK are intellectually bankrupt, without credibility. The language in the "internal documents" is absolutely damning: "multiple examples of unsafe and incorrect treatment recommendations." Katie, bar the door, there's going to be a stampede.
IBM has been telling the biggest health-care providers in the world that they are going to be the dominant player in robot-delivered health care going into the 21st Century. They have also been telling the FDA and other regulatory agencies that they have the answer to delivering high-quality, low-cost advanced-technology health care at the clinical level, world-wide. In partnering with Memorial Sloane-Kettering, they have involved what is arguably the most prestigious name in cancer care in the world with their main corporate initiative.
They have also been telling Wall Street analysts and institutional investors that they're going to lead the world with this technology.
Heads are going to roll. Watch what happens in the next few weeks.
The Rise of the Machines — they will seek to wipe us out as a virus upon the planet.
Based on my experiences with Lotus Notes, I have little faith in IBM.
For the foreseeable future, AI will be great at memorizing and pattern matching.
It’s no substitute for reasoning, intuition , and common F’n sense.
I guess that makes AI the ticket for Progressive Liberal Democrats.
Good old IBM. Without them, or something EXACTLY like them, Hitler and the Nazis could NOT have accomplished all their evil.
Totally forgot about that. Lotus Notes was going to be the next big thing in collaboration software. I've never seen it, never used it, haven't even heard it mentioned, in about fifteen years.
IBM paid $3.5B for Lotus back in 1995.
[ Based on my experiences with Lotus Notes, I have little faith in IBM. ]
I’ll have to remember that one.
AI is not very good at pattern matching, other than in the development laboratory.
A major part of the problem is that the humans that write the software allow themselves to become lulled by the belief that they're actually creating machine-generated abstract models of patterns, and that these models can be used to detect fact patterns out in the real world, where they don't control everything.
That's why robot vehicles have killed people.
That's why hedge funds that use AI to do program trading have blown up, losing trillions of dollars and causing Wall Street icons to go belly-up.
Ho, ho! It WAS an actual recommendation. It may not have been based on an actual person, but it most definitely was an actual recommendation.
AI can be helpful, but cannot replace human knowledge and thinking.
Their retaliation for the murder of Tay...
No heads are going to roll. Welcome to Big Data medical. Mostly right is good enough. The world is changing forever.
No matter how modern or fast the processor, it all boils down to GIGO - Garbage In, Garbage Out.
fed Watson hypothetical patients’ data
IBM Watson has a mix of good and not-so-good. It actually is better than some of its competition.
The same thing plagues business that plagues politics. Blindspots, black swans, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Nate Silver wrote a book warning us to be aware of our limitations. Then he and his fans violated all his warnings.
The same thing happens in business, including but not limited to IBM. I am at risk of the same disease. We need to be honest with ourselves about the assumptions we make. We need to search for assumptions we are not aware of .. yet.
One disease that plagues many in IT is to design new systems for the old reports and old needs of the business. What we need to do is look at all data available and design to make ALL data available,not just the data that is needed by the old reports and old business needs.
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