“Jeopardy!” was just the warmup. Watson is going from palling around with Alex Trebek and his brainy contestants to insurance consultant.
IBM’s supercomputer system, best known for trouncing the world’s best “Jeopardy!” players on TV, is being tapped by one of the nation’s largest health insurers to help diagnose medical problems and authorize treatments.
WellPoint, which has 34.2 million members, will integrate Watson’s lightning speed and deep healthcare database into its existing patient information, helping it choose among treatment options and medicines.
“This very much fits into the sweet spot of what we envisioned for the applications of Watson,” says Manoj Saxena, general manager of an IBM division looking at how the computer can be marketed.