Will IBM's Watson Help Stop the Ebola Spread: Will Other Tech Companies Also Offer Aid?

By Mike Allen

Posted On October 02, 2014


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"It’s everywhere, the virus is viral, and the internet is spreading it quicker than the average Ebola patient. With the largest, most broadcast, most viral spread of the 40-year-old disease, humanity may have a powerful weapon to aid in the spread of the incurable Chimera, Ebola, and with its ability to outsmart TV’s “Jeopardy” in 2011, IBM’S Watson Supercomputer with its human-like ability to “learn” the supercomputer might also be able to pinpoint how to cure it.

So, IBM’s one of our favorite datacenter company’s, their sublime all-out war on the datacenter and cloud world have made them a superpower, and with them comes a supercomputer.

How can Watson help in the desperate race to stop the spread of Ebola? One is IBM’s pledge to divert $100 Million in funds devoted solely to using Watson to find patterns in the virus: how it’s mutating, how it could possibly lead to a vaccine, and eventually, how it could cure the sick and dying.

Another beautiful thing about Watson is that it’s the “world’s computer”, it’s the ultimate in openware, it is its own communicable disease and “community computer.” Anyone can load information into it, so anyone could add the string that could crack the code on the Ebola plague.

According to IBM’S West Africa Director, Taiwo Otiti, “The beauty about Watson is it’s a community computer. You could feed it information about Ebola cases, for instance, and then you could ask it questions, and it will give you a prognosis and suggest the best treatment for a particular patient based on that data.”

Which is helpful in immerging countries, where people aren’t following the World Health Organization’s protocol for what one does when one has Ebola (or in the U.S.’s case – we have citizens who are following the “Ebola Code” – stay inside – don’t get on an airplane.) Otiti also hopes that public awareness of Watson and IBM’s commitment will fuel other tech giants to get in the fight against this plague, as he believes that if people know that there is something anyone can use, then there may be hope.

When it comes to giving hope to the hopeless, especially with a virus that has a 90% mortality rate in Africa, that’s priceless, and IBM seems to be issuing a call-to-arms by offering up Watson and diverting funds, hopefully, other companies will follow suit. The virus has jumped on a plane and it’s global know, we’re going to need the help of those computers that can “learn”, because if it isn’t Ebola, it may be the next pathogen that makes T.S. Eliot’s chilling lines from “The Hollow Men” come true: “The is the Way the World Ends, This is the Way the World Ends, This is the Way the World Ends, Not with a Bang, but a Whimper.”"


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Mike Allen

"It’s everywhere, the virus is viral, and the internet is spreading it quicker than the average Ebola patient. With the largest, most broadcast, most viral spread of the 40-year-old disease, humanity may have a powerful weapon to aid in the spread of the incurable Chimera, Ebola, and with its ability ...