Google Launches AI Project In Thailand To Screen For Diabetic Eye Disease

By Amit Chowdhry ● December 17, 2018

Google recently announced it launched a new artificial intelligence program in Thailand to screen for a diabetic eye disease, which causes permanent blindness according to Reuters. This eye screening program in Thailand is similar to one that Google launched in India. And this initiative highlights how big technology companies are showing the social benefits of artificial intelligence technologies.

The diabetes program in Thailand was announced in partnership between Google and the Thai state-run Rajavithi Hospital. And it follows a joint-study that found the artificial intelligence program had an accuracy rate of 95% when it came to disease detection compared to 74% from opticians.

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The artificial intelligence platform analyzes the eye screen results of patients to assess if they are at a risk of vision loss, which will enable them to have preemptive treatment.

“As a society, we have a responsibility to use AI in the best possible way,” said Google’s Senior Vice President for Global Affairs Kent Walker at a Google event in Bangkok via Reuters. During the same event, the company highlighted another social benefit of Google’s artificial intelligence project like the stopping of illegal fishing in Indonesia.

Thailand is known as being one of the world’s most important sugar producers. And high sugar consumption is common across the country’s population. So the Thai government has been promoting the curbing of behavior that can lead to diabetes. And so diabetic eye screening has become one of the country’s national health indicators over the last few years.

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Ravajithi Hospital’s assistant director Paisan Ruamviboonsuk said that Thailand has 1,400 eye doctors for its 5 million diabetic patients who are at risk of vision loss. And Paisan added that the program is intended to achieve a nationwide eye screening rate of 60%.

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