Report: IBM Watson Recommended 'Unsafe and Incorrect' Cancer Treatment

Friday Jul 27th 2018 by Developer.com Staff

The news could have broader implications for artificial intelligence development if it stokes fears about AI.

Reports in Stat News and Gizmodo claim that internal IBM documents show that Watson for Oncology made "unsafe and incorrect treatment recommendations" multiple times. For example, in one case, a 65-year-old man with lung cancer was recommended a drug that can cause hemorrhaging, even though the man was already experiencing severe bleeding and shouldn't have been a candidate for the drug.

The report says the problems may have been caused by training Watson on hypothetical patient data rather than on real data.

“This product is a piece of s**t,” a doctor at Florida’s Jupiter Hospital said to IBM. “We bought it for marketing and with hopes that you would achieve the vision. We can’t use it for most cases.”

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