We've long been promised that computers will be able to make us healthier, which of course includes being able to detect and fight cancers. Now, we see a real-life example of that happening, and thanks is owed to IBM's powerful Watson supercomputer.
When a Japanese patient had some form of leukemia that doctors were unable to pinpoint, IBM's Watson was brought in to compare their genetic records to more than 20 million others against this patient's. Fortunately, doing so proved successful, as the patient's exact variant was found. Not only that, Watson's helped this patient receive treatment a lot quicker than they would have, and best of all? It proved successful.
While doctors are able to diagnose cancers like leukemia and its many variants, it takes a lot of time, and is no doubt really tedious. It could even lead to some inaccurate diagnoses in some cases. In this particular case, the doctors were left confounded, but Watson managed to churn through an immense amount of data quick enough to give the doctors the exact information they needed.
Clearly, this is a great sign of things to come. While this particular case might have been one of the rarer instances where complete help could be offered, there's little doubt that the situation will vastly improve over time. We could very well see medical services offered in the future that let regular people pay a fee for use of a supercomputer to help them detect problems sooner.
The future is going to be interesting.