Technology

Google DeepMind's AI Can Detect 50 Eye Disease Conditions And Save Sight


eepMind, a Google-owned artificial intelligence company, has developed an AI system that can accurately identify 50 different types of eye condition as accurately as a doctor.

The system — capable of analysing 3D retinal OCT scans for early signs of conditions like glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and macular degeneration — has been developed through a joint research partnership with Moorfields Eye Hospital in London over the last 18 months.

The AI,  which can correctly identify types of eye disease from OCT scans 94.5% of the time, learned how to detect eye conditions by studying approximately 15,000 anonymous eye scans. The results of the trial were published in the journal Nature Medicine on Monday.

DeepMind cofounder Mustafa Suleyman, who leads DeepMind Health, claimed in a blog post that the AI system could help to save people's sight, adding that it could one day be rolled out in hospitals around the world.


"Our AI system can quickly interpret eye scans from routine clinical practice with unprecedented accuracy. It can correctly recommend how patients should be referred for treatment for over 50 sight-threatening eye diseases as accurately as world-leading expert doctors," he wrote.

"These are early results, but they show that our system could handle the wide variety of patients found in routine clinical practice. In the long term, we hope this will help doctors quickly prioritise patients who need urgent treatment – which could ultimately save sight."

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DeepMind intends to let NHS hospitals use a validated version of the technology for free for five years, providing the software meets all the necessary regulatory approvals.

Dr Pearse Keane, a consultant ophthalmologist at Moorfields, said in a press statement: "The number of eye scans we're performing is growing at a pace much faster than human experts are able to interpret them. There is a risk that this may cause delays in the diagnosis and treatment of sight-threatening diseases.

"If we can diagnose and treat eye conditions early, it gives us the best chance of saving people's sight. With further research, it could lead to greater consistency and quality of care for patients with eye problems in the future."

Monetisation

DeepMind's work with the NHS got off to a bad start after the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), the UK data watchdog, ruled that a DeepMind trial with the Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust failed to comply with data protection law. Specifically, the ICO said that around 1.6 million sensitive patient records were mishandled and it claimed patients were not adequately informed that their data would be used as part of the test.

But DeepMind sees healthcare as an area ripe for disruption and it likely sees the NHS as a potential major revenue source, although it would never openly admit this. It is already charging some NHS organisations for access to different DeepMind products and the eye scanning technology could end up being highly lucrative if rolled out at scale.

Google paid a reported £400 million for DeepMind in 2014 but the AI lab's aggressive expansion means that it currently operates at a loss, according to the most recent filings with Companies House. In 2016, it made a loss of £164 million in total, a significant increase on the £54 million loss it posted in 2015.

The majority of DeepMind's expenditure has gone towards hiring as many of the brightest machine learning scientists in the world as it can. In 2016, when it had a workforce of around 600 people, it spent a whopping £104.8 million on "staff costs and other related costs". 
A report from The Information in April said some Google staff are unhappy with DeepMind's lack of revenue.

 It's worth noting that DeepMind has helped the search giant in a number of areas. In July 2016, DeepMind announced it had developed software that allows Google to reduce the amount of electricity used by the cooling units in its data centres by 40%. DeepMind's AI has also helped Google to make its text-to-speech service more realistic.

 

 

Google DeepMind's AI Can Detect 50 Eye Disease Conditions And Save Sight Google DeepMind's AI Can Detect 50 Eye Disease Conditions And Save Sight Reviewed by Admin on 10:22 Rating: 5

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