The University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the first medical facilities in the world to partner with IBM on a computer-aided diagnostics program. IBM's artificial intelligence technology, Watson, is being used to analyze patient data and compare that data to the medical literature in order to come up with diagnoses.
Many people are optimistic about the potential of Watson and other AI diagnostic programs. There are about 7,000 known rare diseases, and no human doctor can realistically memorize the diagnostic criteria for every single disease. With computer aids, a doctor may be able to narrow down the list of possible diagnoses more quickly and then use human reasoning skills to correctly diagnose a patient.