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As healthy and sexy as a tan might seem, it can be dangerous. Especially for Australians, who are at much higher risk of skin cancer (melanoma) due to their sun-kissed beaches, fantastic weather and general lack of clothing. More than 13,000 cases of melanoma will be detected in Australia this year alone, and thousands will die.
Early detection is critical when it comes to saving lives, but spotting symptoms can be difficult, and clinicians can only spot melanoma with the naked eye 60% of the time.
IBM’s cognitive computing technology, Watson, can understand natural language, self-learn, reason, and interact naturally with humans. It can process vast amounts of data, in greater depth, delivering more insights much faster than humans. For Watson to be useful in helping to detect melanoma, however, it needed data. Lots and lots of data.
We worked with IBM’s agency partner Ogilvy to create the Watson Smart Mirror – a way for everyday Australians to interact with Watson as it learned more about the symptoms of melanoma.
By standing in front of the SmartMirror, situated on Bondi Beach, everyday Australians were analysed by Watson, who would add the data from each individual to his learning, and could refer them to a skin specialist if necessary.
Our national campaign drove conversation around skin care and the early warning signs of melanoma, and Australians unable to visit the SmartMirror could share their stories and photographs online. Tagging #OutThinkMelanoma allowed Watson to incorporate these stories into its learning.
The campaign reached nearly a quarter of Australia’s total population, via pieces on four national TV broadcasters, 6 in-depth radio interviews and both of Australia’s national newspapers. As a result, more than twice the target number of people used the SmartMirror, with several of them referred to dermatologists, potentially saving their lives. On top of this, we generated gigabytes of new data for Watson to continue learning and refining its diagnosis capabilities.