Over several years, IBM’s Watson supercomputer has been taught to understand human speech, to understand the languages of medicine, chemistry, biology, legal and intellectual property, and to understand contexts of the languages. It has been taught to identify and review patterns in genome sequencing and medical data to develop advanced decision support and individualized treatment of patients.

Now, IBM wants Watson to “see” diagnostic medical images and plans to buy medical imaging software vendor Merge Healthcare for $1 billion to help develop the capability.

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