Statnews' Carey Ross and Ike Swetlit investigated how well IBM Watson actually works in cancer care. It is a sobering look at the challenges Watson encountered. For eample, how do you deal with frequent updates of medical literature and standard? How do you address the "do no harm" concerns of doctors? How do you balance privacy and data? This StatNews piece explore each of these issues.
The investigation is thorough. One of the key areas the authors peeled back is that currently Watson doesn't seem to provide any scientific evaluation of how well Watson works:
The actual capabilities of Watson for Oncology are not well-understood by the public, and even by some of the hospitals that use it. It’s taken nearly six years of painstaking work by data engineers and doctors to train Watson in just seven types of cancer, and keep the system updated with the latest knowledge.
Another question posed by the authors is how well Watson's advice would be valid outside America:
In Denmark, oncologists at one hospital said they have dropped the project altogether after finding that local doctors agreed with Watson in only about 33 percent of cases.
We think the conclusion of the authors were mild, but valid:
But the outlook for Watson for Oncology is challenging, say those who have worked closest with it. Kris, the lead trainer at Memorial Sloan Kettering, said the system has the potential to improve care and ensure more patients get expert treatment. But like a medical student, Watson is just learning to perform in the real world.
Whereas if you recall the Gizmodo's piece back in Aug 11, 2017, a quote from Claudia Perlich, a ex-data scientist from IBM:
“The reality however is what Watson as a commercial product represents is very different, even from a technology perspective, from Watson who won Jeopardy!”
Our take: IBM's problem could be another example where technology could not yet quite catch up with the moon-shoot promise from the marketing department. IBM still has many talented AI researchers. Also, perhaps more importantly, what IBM is encountering is what other deep learning researchers may increasingly encounter - beware of the hype.
South China Morning Post (SCMP) as well as Financial Times, reported that Google is looking to build a new ML team in Beijing. If you are familiar with the relationship between Google and China, this is interesting news. China's censorship policy doesn't go with Google well, and it was known that back in 2010, Google decided to quit the China market, and only at 2016, the company decides to reenter the market. Initially the deal was based on Android but now it seems like Google start to further developed in A.I. activity in China as well.
So what make Beijing an ideal site? The political seat of power, tech startup ecosystem and both Beijing University and Tsinghua are all located there.
Specific to A.I., perhaps the more important reason here is that several companies such as MS already heavily invest in A.I. talents in Beijing. e.g. As you know MSR China is the one that came up with the innovative techniques such as Resnet. Google cannot afford not to have a presence in the ML ecosystem in China.
Another expansion news from tech giant, Amazon is planning to hire more than 100 engineers and scientists in the Barcelona engineering center. The goal of the center is not surprising - part of it is to allow Amazon to keep tap of talents in local universities, part of it is to develop non-English version of products such as Alexa.
This is a quiet yet significant piece of news. U.S. House just passed a bi-partisan bill, or SELF-DRIVE Act, which allow exemptions of autos/tech companies to get exemptions from federal regulations. As such, close to 100k autonomous vehicles can be tested on the road. The bill is not yet a law, and it still has to go through U.S. Senate.