CONCERNS ARE BEING RAISED after Google announced it was to absorb the health division of its AI business Google DeepMind.
The company, which gave us the Go-champion beating AlphaGo, has been in trouble before over patient privacy during tests of its Streams system to monitor patients remotely and alert doctors to issues before they arise.
Now, its parent company, which bought the UK based firm in 2014, is looking to take on the health programme directly, putting an increased amount of data directly into the hands of the Googletron.
DeepMind was found to have operated illegally in some of its trials as it was found that the way that the data would be used hadn't been successfully explained to the participants from the outset.
Privacy advocates are going to be spitting feathers over the decision which could also see the abolition of the oversight board set up by DeepMind to ensure best practice is followed.
The Verge adds speculation that this has been a long time coming, with friction between DeepMind's mission and Google's desire for monetisation at odds with each other.
However, from a privacy point of view, the separation of DeepMind was one of the things that made the whole thing palatable. Now the entire division is to become part of Google Health under new CEO David Feinberg, for whom this is just the first step in uniting the wider companies health initiatives which are all spread under different divisions - even if those are in the wider Alphabet group of umbrellaed Google companies.
Streams, which has been trialled in NHS facilities around London in the monitoring of kidney patients, will continue, and the project will remain in London. Other projects include applying AI to eye tests to spot any… well… spots…. in the eyeball before they're visible to the ophthalmologist. μ
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