Watson claims to predict cancer, but who trained it to ‘think?’

By beating humans at games of Go and Jeopardy, artificial intelligence engines like Google’s DeepMind and IBM’s Watson have captured attention for their promise of solving bigger human problems. Watson, for example, is being enlisted to help doctors predict cancer in patients. The American internet pioneer Douglas Engelbart suggests that AI’s grandest promise is the amplification of human ability. Whether it’s automating rote cognitive tasks like tagging people in photos or assisting in complex work flows like cancer treatment, the human-augmentation promise feels almost inevitable in every product and domain. Self-driving cars rely on massive amounts of data collected over several years from efforts like Google’s people-powered street canvassing, which provides the ability to “see” roads. Data has crowned a new king in AI. In deep learning, the technical approach…


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