A Watson-style computer heads for the ICU

Molly Wood May 2, 2011
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A Watson-style computer heads for the ICU

Molly Wood May 2, 2011
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Artemis is a kind of technological cousin to Watson. It’s being worked on currently with the idea of using it in neonatal intensive care units to monitor the vital signs of the young patients there. It would take in the various data that a baby is producing and then posit from that data whether the baby is at a higher risk of infection or more likely to face other medical risks. So essentially, instead of getting trivia questions, it gets medical readings. Instead of answers (in the form of a question), it offers predictions.

We speak with Carolyn McGregor, a researcher at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. She explains how Artemis works and what it watches for. McGregor says it could be incredibly valuable in the case of infection.

Carolyn McGregor: There’s been early work showing there’s a pattern in the heart-rate behavior up to 24 hours before the other signs they use to diagnose that today. Now, in a neo-nate, premature baby, that’s particularly important because that extra time that that infection has to progress can have a significant impact on their ability to survive and how long they have to stay in hospital.

We also talk to Mary Ebling, a researcher at IBM. She says Artemis, being a computer, never gets tired, never needs to knock off for the day, never quits. “A computer can look at this forever,” she says, “and just keep analyzing it.”

Also in this program, Facebook is hosting a sort of virtual lost and found of materials blown around by the recent tornadoes.

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