IBM Life Sciences

A game changer for life sciences

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Cognitive computing for life sciences can be a game changer. Here’s why.

Over the last few weeks the papers have been filled with stories about computers beating the very best in the world at the very hardest board game in the world. Now I don’t profess to be knowledgeable about this ancient strategy game or indeed other games where artificial intelligence has headlined as champions, such as Jeopardy. But what I do know about and what gets me really excited is how these capabilities are moving from ‘just a game’ to becoming very much reality in life sciences, the industry where I’ve worked for the past 30 years. And the timing for an industry game changer in life science couldn’t be better.

Despite the well documented woes of the last decade, the life sciences industry has continued to progress successfully and profitably. But fresh societal, economic and industry influences are once more threatening traditional business models. New entrants from other industries are blurring the definition of life sciences and new partners are interacting and collaborating across traditional boundaries – from health and wellness to patient care.

In addition, the industry is being bombarded by rapidly advancing technological capabilities including digitization which is helping to drive an increase volumes of data – data potentially full of insights if only they could be unlocked. Cognitive computing can build knowledge, understand natural language and provide confidence-weighted responses and in so doing help to bridge that gap between data quantity and data insights.

Read more about Cognitive Computing for Life Sciences

A forthcoming executive report from the IBM Institute for Business Value explains how life sciences executives have started to realize the potential of cognitive computing – for example, accelerating scientific discoveries, speeding up clinical trials, transforming safety and improving patient engagement. And 94 % of the executives we surveyed who said that they were familiar with cognitive computing believe it will play a disruptive for life science and drive a new era of innovation.

Cognitive Computing For Life Sciences

So as I head out for the Easter holidays, my mind turns to another vexing problem – my vegetable patch! What I would give to have cognitive computer in my pocket to help build on the (few) successful decisions made in previous years; learn from information collected from books, magazines, horticultural experts and green-fingered neighbours; read soil samples and all the while work with the vagaries of our local climate! Hopefully I won’t have to wait another 30 years to see Watson bring us cognitive computing for gardeners!

IBM Institute for Business Value, Global Life Sciences & Healthcare Lead

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