ASPIRING ROBO-DOCTOR Google has been given clearance to begin processing NHS data records, as it officially swallows its DeepMind AI lab.
Some campaigners have suggested that this has reneged on a promise made by the health service not to allow any data into the hands of the US company.
Remember this quote from 2016? "DeepMind operates autonomously from Google, and we've been clear from the outset that at no stage will patient data ever be linked or associated with Google accounts, products or services."
Google argues that by removing the containerisation of DeepMind, it will offer additional resources that will allow its initiatives to help patients worldwide.
The flagship medical scheme 'Streams' aimed at kidney patients, has already been criticised for giving Google access to too much data without permission.
Of the existing initiatives between DeepMind and NHS Trusts, only one, Yeovil District Hospital has declined to transfer to Google Health, citing reasons of need, rather than concerns over privacy.
At present, it's not clear who will monitor DeepMind's initiatives from outside Google, nor what the future of the head of the Health division's boss and co-founder Mustafa Suleyman is. He's already on ‘long-term leave' suggesting that perhaps he was in some way opposed or preventing the merger. He has hinted that his future role may be more as a consultant than an employee.
Indeed, it's not even clear if DeepMind's headquarters will remain at the Kings Cross, London building it has been calling home.
Although concerns over health records are at the forefront of discussion over the merger, it's worth remembering that DeepMind has its fingers in many other pies, including the legendary AlphaGo computer which was trained to beat the world champion at ancient board game ‘Go'.
The inevitability of the move may be leaving concerns for some users, but Google says it remains committed to the confidentiality of partner records. µ
Hype for HyperThreading
Hey kids, leave them iPhones alone
The Mac lady sings
Babel in yo ear