by Tian Ye
AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- No matter the location, a customer can access more than ten maestros of Chinese medicine and over 1,000 experienced and recognized Chinese medicine experts for diagnosis and therapeutic services, if Gu Gaosheng's online service goes global.
Gu, once a researcher in artificial intelligence, founded the digital venture in late 2014, and was one of the participating company in the 13th World Congress of Chinese Medicine held here on Saturday.
Unlike other companies' pavilions stacked with traditional Chinese medicinal products, Gu's stand seemed almost empty, showcasing business cards and brochures only. But the poster behind still caught a lot of attention as five photos of different maestros of Chinese medicine were printed on it.
Maestro of Chinese medicine is an honor scrutinized and awarded by China's state administration of traditional Chinese medicine in 2008 and 2014. Only 60 experts received this official title through the vetting process, among whom many have passed away in the last few years.
"It is my ambition to bring them back to life. This can be done through big data gathering and analysis and the notion that a patient can be diagnosed and treated by maestros, once the computer learns how they would react when facing various symptoms," Gu explained of how his AI or cognitive computing network works.
A similar concept was first brought up by tech-giant IBM in 2001 and a cognitive business model was identified this year as IBM's pillar strategy for the future, with a step forward also being the partnering with U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and a Chinese leading voice recognition software company.
Prof. Zhu Wanhua, a participant and daughter of one of the maestros of Chinese medicine, believed otherwise. "Each patient is a unique case with different attitude towards disease, which makes him or her incompatible with a statistics pattern."
She believes that treatment consists of so much more than prescribing medicine while a patient's state of mind remains a predominant factor in the battle of a disease.
"Medicine can only do one third of the job of healing," she said, adding that medicine only works effectively along with a patient's determination and dietary adaption.
She followed her father, maestro Zhu Liangchun, who passed away late last year at the age of 98, in his path in practicing Chinese medicine, after getting a bachelor's degree in clinical medicine.
Prof. Zhu joined some 700 experts of Chinese medicine from around the world in a two day annual congress hosted by the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS), during which participants will deliver new clinical and therapeutic findings to their peers.
The WFCMS, based in Beijing, China, has become an international umbrella group of Chinese medicine, which has established working relations with World Health Organization and other UN agencies.
If Prof. Zhu's methodology proves to be a common practice in Chinese medicine, Gu's ambitious attempt to simulate diagnosis and therapy may face grave challenges ahead.
But Gu still stands half a chance to succeed in making diagnoses aside from a cure which, may not solely rely on medicinal prescription, as IBM's application of cognitive computing in medical services features the same methodology to diagnose diseases.