What Went Wrong With IBM’s Watson

What if artificial intelligence can’t cure cancer after all? That’s the message of a big Wall Street Journal post-mortem on Watson, the IBM project that was supposed to turn IBM’s computing prowess into a scalable program that could deliver state-of-the-art personalized cancer treatment protocols to millions of patients around the world.

Watson in general, and its oncology application in particular, has been receiving a lot of skeptical coverage; STAT published a major investigation in 2017, reporting that Watson was nowhere near being able to live up to IBM’s promises.

As of 2018, IBM is shrinking: In 2011, when the company first introduced the idea that Watson might be able to one day cure cancer, its revenues were $107 billion.

If IBM went from being worth, say, 3 times revenues in 2011 to 2 times revenues in 2017, then its market capitalization would have shrunk by more than 50 percent.

IBM pursued this strategy by hyping Watson long before it was really ready for prime time.

“IBM ought to quit trying to cure cancer,” said Peter Greulich, a former IBM brand manager who has written several books about IBM’s history and modern challenges.

Greulich said IBM needs to invest more money in Watson and hire more people to make it successful.

This article was summarized automatically with AI / Article-Σ ™/ BuildR BOT™.

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