Google's DeepMind Healthcare A.I. Will Use Blockchain

The British Artificial Intelligence (AI) company DeepMind Technologies, a subsidiary of Google, recently revealed it will be utilizing a blockchain technology. The firm will use a distributed ledger application to better secure patient data.

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Google’s DeepMind Looks to Blockchain

DeepMind is a software firm that builds algorithms for simulations, applications, and gaming protocols. The company is well known for creating a machine learning platform that learns how to play video games. DeepMind has also built a Neural Turing Machine which mimics a human’s short-term memory. Recently the company signed a five-year deal with a London NHS Trust applying its technology to healthcare. However, this has sparked controversy over the privacy of patients data.

According to the publication CityAM, DeepMind will use a “blockchain-like” technology with its healthcare initiative, according to a Google spokesperson. Co-founder Mustafa Suleyman has detailed the company will use the software for “general transparency” in a “distributed and untamperable way.” Moreover, the company has hired leading cryptographer Ben Laurie. DeepMind has also sought out software engineers who understand blockchain and cryptography.

“The role will be working on innovative solutions involving a range of technologies,  capabilities, static analysis/formal methods, “the blockchain” (no, not Bitcoin) to provide both security and transparency to DeepMind’s infrastructure, initially for Health but also covering a wide range of applications,” states the DeepMind career page.

Blockchain to Enhance Health Care Coupled With AI

DeepMind’s deal with the London NHS Trust is to build an application that distinguishes kidney issues for hospital patients. The trial will work with the Royal Free London Stream identifying people in jeopardy of acute kidney injury (AKI). “This is about bringing information to doctors and nurses, much in the way we get news alerts on our phones. We know that a quarter of deaths from AKI are preventable if clinicians are able to intervene earlier and more effectively,” said Royal Free medical director Stephen Powis.

Blockchain technology, healthcare, AI, and IoT concepts are having more and more interlaced relationships. This past April blockchain enterprise company Gem partnered with the multinational firm Philips to create blockchain healthcare architecture. Another well-known corporation IBM is also dedicating energy and capital into blockchain AI prototypes. Additionally, the German-based IBM Watson is working on these protocols with Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals.

DeepMind has been working with Royal Free for the past year, but there have been privacy concerns. The Information Commissioner’s Office told Digital Health News the agency was inquiring about certain privacy aspects of the project. Since the concern for privacy, DeepMind seems to have taken the criticism seriously by starting to work with a blockchain protocol. With blockchain technology DeepMind and Royal Free, data could be distributed in a secure fashion as well as keeping transparency.

What do you think about DeepMind using a blockchain-like technology to secure data? Let us know in the comments below.

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