- IBM will spend $240 million over 10 years to create an artificial intelligence lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Denver Post reported.
- The MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab will support collaborative research by IBM and MIT scientists, advancing hardware, software and algorithms used in deep learning in health, cybersecurity and other areas.
- The lab also will examine the ethical and economic implications of AI on society.
In a Q&A, Anathan Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering, said the partnership will support a variety of efforts, “from scholarship, to the licensing of technology, to the release of open-source material, to the creation of startups.”
Specific targets being considered include the ability to detect cancer at an early stage using AI with imaging, he said.
Chandrakasan will co-chair the lab along with Dario Gil, vice president of research of IBM AI and IBM Q, the company's quantum computing arm.
IBM has been ramping up its healthcare business with initiatives in cancer, precision medicine and population health. Last October, the company forged a global alliance with Siemens Healthineers aimed at helping providers deliver value-based care for patients with complex chronic conditions like cancer and heart disease. Big Blue has also partnered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help physicians expand and scale access to precision treatments for veterans with cancer.
According to data presented at ASCO 2017 in June, IBM Watson’s cognitive technology matched tumor board treatment recommendations in 96% of lung cancer cases and cut screening times for clinical trial participants by 78% — from nearly two hours to just 24 minutes.
However, a new analysis by Stat News suggests the supercomputer’s capabilities in the area of cancer may be overstated — at least for now.
“Perhaps the most stunning overreach is in the company’s claim that Watson for Oncology, through artificial intelligence, can sift through reams of data to generate new insights and identify, as an IBM sales rep put it, ‘even new approaches’ to cancer care,” the report states. “STAT found that the system doesn’t create new knowledge and is artificially intelligent only in the most rudimentary sense of the term.”
The investigation also found that some of the few dozen hospitals using Watson for Oncology still struggle to understand its capabilities, it can be difficult to update and foreign physicians report a bias toward U.S. treatments and modes of care.