Published: Fri, November 16, 2018
Medical | By

DeepMind transfers Streams mobile health app to Google control

DeepMind transfers Streams mobile health app to Google control

DeepMind says that the company intends for "Streams" to become an "AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere", and that the app's team itself will remain in London, led by former NHS surgeon and researcher Dr. Dominic King.

Google looks to be getting a firmer hold on NHS patient data by absorbing its DeepMind Health AI lab - a leading United Kingdom health technology developer.

Google acquired DeepMind, a London based artificial intelligence (AI) firm, back in 2014.

DeepMind repeatedly, unconditionally promised to *never* connect people's intimate, identifiable health data to Google.

Now, its parent company, which bought the United Kingdom 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.

Google Health will fold in the healthcare arm from its British artificial intelligence lab DeepMind.

Staff working on Streams and clinical evaluations of algorithms are to transfer to Google Health, while those involved in research, as opposed to product development, will continue to work for DeepMind.


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.

DeepMind has also been criticised by health watchdogs in the past.

A DeepMind spokesperson emphasised that the core of the promise remains intact: "All patient data remains under our partners' strict control, and all decisions about its use lie with them".

"We believe that the platform is ready to take advantage of the predictive insights offered by AI technology, helping clinicians deliver better, faster, preventative care to patients in need". "The move to Google does not affect this".

Critics are concerned that the change could put sensitive data in the tech giant's hands, despite Google stressing that patient information remains under the control of the NHS.

United Kingdom medical privacy group MedConfidential referred to a 2016 BBC article in which DeepMind was said to be ensuring that Streams data "isn't shared with Google".

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