The startup looks to combine machine learning, with image and video conversations to create the perfect doctor
Robots doctors could very much be a reality in the not so distant future, as British startup Babylon Health is looking to create the perfect doctor through the use of machine learning.
Babylon Health has been working on a digital healthcare app that combines machine learning tech with video and text consultations with doctors and medical specialists to enable triage advice via a smartphone, which the company plans to roll fully roll out this year.
Having raised around an additional £50 million in funding, the startup now plans to plough the money into building out the artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities of its app so it can provide a deeper medical diagnostic to its users.
AI and healthcare
The app in its current, which works on iOS and Android as well as in web app form, and can be used to setup video call with doctors for remote healthcare, have subscriptions dleivert ot a user’s door or preferred pharmacy and carry ourt health and wellness monitoring,
The app has both basic free features and paid for aspects, such as setting up a video call with a doctor, with prices ranging from £5 to £50 per year.
However, by making the app smarter, Babylon Health could remove the need for doctors and instead have a form of AI-powered assistant capable of making health diagnosis. How exactly the startup will achieve this has yet to be revealed, but chief executive Dr Ali Parsa is confident Babylon Health can put AI doctors into smartphones and provide a service that people across the globe can benefit from.
“Our scientists have little doubt that our AI will soon diagnose and predict personal health better than doctors,” he told the BBC.
Initially, it would appear that this will involve throwing a load of information at machine learning algorithms to train them on the fundamentals of medicine.
“Considering the machine is interacting with thousands of patients a day, the speed at which it is learning is significantly higher than any one individual,” said Parsa.”We’re trying to give the machine a significant amount of data, much more than any human brain can keep, It teaches itself more and more.”
Babylon Health’s work could have the benefit of democratising access to medical expertise. But at the same time is could also encroach upon the expertise of medical professionals, and in a world already concerned with the impact of AI and its potential to steal jobs, that may not be an ideal scenario for the healthcare industry.