Google's new health unit takes over AI sister company, DeepMind

DeepMind Health pledges

As of this week, DeepMind Health will operate under Google Health, while other DeepMind sectors will remain independent from Google.

"Our vision is for Streams to now become an AI-powered assistant for nurses and doctors everywhere - combining the best algorithms with intuitive design, all backed up by rigorous evidence", head of DeepMind Health Dominic King and co-founders Demis Hassabis and Mustafa Suleyman wrote in a blog post.

Today, the firm announced that the health division, along with the team behind "Streams", their mobile app that supports healthcare officials with faster identification and diagnosis of patients" conditions, is moving to Google's newly-formed health arm dubbed "Google Health'.

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.

Alphabet is Google's parent company.

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'As a research organisation, DeepMind will continue to work on fundamental health research with partners in academia, the NHS and beyond.

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. The watchdog did not stop DeepMind from continuing to use or develop Streams. DeepMind said that it remained fully committed to all its NHS partners and to delivering current projects. A subsidiary of the company, DeepMind Health, focuses on creating technologies and solutions that help identify various medical conditions through machine learning and alert health-care providers.

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". It also raised questions about the basis under which the London hospital which had been piloting the device had shared its data with Google DeepMind.

"DeepMind repeatedly, unconditionally, promised to never connect people's intimate, identifiable health data to Google", tweeted New York University Law and Tech researcher Julia Powles.

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