Google’s DeepMind to Use AI Algorithms to Spot Eye Disease

Adam Rowe

Deepmind, a British artificial intelligence company acquired by Google in 2014, will be partnering with the UK's National Health Service to develop algorithms designed to combat eye disease by catching it early. According to The Guardian, the process is a “machine learning system which will eventually be able to recognize sight-threatening conditions from just a digital scan of the eye.”

The article explains more about the process and the partners:

“The collaboration between the two organizations came about thanks to an unsolicited request from one doctor at Moorfields. Pearse Keane, a consultant ophthalmologist, contacted the Google subsidiary through its website to discuss the need to better analyze scans of the eye, and initiated the research project shortly after. ‘I’d been reading about deep learning and the success that technology had had in image recognition,' he said, when he came across an article about DeepMind training a machine to play Atari games – the company’s first public success.

‘I had the brainwave that deep learning could be really good at looking at the images of the eye. Optical Coherence Tomography is my area, and we have the largest depository of OCT images in the world. Within a couple of days I got in touch with Mustafa, and he replied.'”

Big data and advanced AI are both fields with a lot of potential for health: By relying on massive amounts of information and past records from hospitals around the world, the right AI could figure out patterns that could heal others. And health is a field with a significant impact: In some cases, early awareness could mean the difference between life and death.

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for the last decade. He's also a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry (and Digital Book World 2018 award finalist) and has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect. When not glued to TechMeme, he loves obsessing over 1970s sci-fi art.

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