Google plans to use more than one million anonymized eye scans to teach computers how to diagnose ocular disease.
The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company has signed a deal with a British eye hospital to use artificial intelligence to learn from the medical records of 1.6 million patients in London hospitals.
The goal is to teach a computer program to recognize the signs of two common types of eye disease, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.
That's something humans are surprisingly imperfect at. Physicians diagnose these ailments by analyzing medical charts and interviewing patients, yet still get it wrong 10 to 20% of the time.
Artificial intelligence could enable a machine to scan millions of records and documents, learn from them and then make more accurate diagnoses and save time while doing so.
The partnership, announced Monday, is between DeepMind, an artificial intelligence company owned by Google, and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.
"With sight loss predicted to double by the year 2050, it is vital we explore the use of cutting-edge technology to prevent eye disease." Peng Tee Khaw, director of the National Institute for Health Research's Biomedical Research Centre in Ophthalmology at Moorfield Eye Hospital, said in a release.