4. Layoffs at IBM Watson Health
Perhaps an extra dose of skepticism is needed when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare. That seems to be a takeaway from the latest news out of Watson Health — the machine-learning, AI-fueled group at IBM (NYSE:IBM) that has promised to transform an array of things including drug discovery, imaging, oncology and more.
IBM Watson Health reportedly laid off between 50% to 70% of its workforce in May due to a softening market for value-based healthcare offerings. A number of reports from ex-employees seemed to reflect that major layoffs occurred across not only Watson Health, but also from acquisitions it had made earlier including Merge Healthcare and Truven Health Analytics.
After widespread reporting of the rumor, an IBM spokesperson finally confirmed that the company was laying people off but only a “small percentage” of the Watson Health workforce. Helping to add to the validity of the spokesperson claim was the fact that IBM apparently hadn’t filed a mass-layoff notice under the Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification Act, which would require them to do so if nearly 70% of its workforce was headed for the door.