Google, the world’s leading search engines and highest valued company, continues to try and disrupt another industry and this time is set its aim on the Healthcare business.

Through its London-based startup, DeepMind Health, the company has announced that it is building a medical technology division that is set to research on how Artificial Intelligence (AI) could advance and improve human health.

DeepMind has previously created various generic self-learning algorithms that are rooted in AI and can easily outperform humans on games such as Pong and Space Invaders.  Currently, the company has built an AI through its AlphaGo algorithm that will take on the human world champion at the ancient Chinese board game Go; a game, which until recently, has been notoriously difficult for computers to master.

The Google Healthcare initiative will create apps for medical professionals to help them focus on identifying patients at risk of various complications such as acute kidney injury and will begin with an iPhone app known as Streams, which will alert doctors and nurses of critical information on their patients.

DeepMind has also acquired another healthcare app called Hark, which will help hospital staff organize and prioritize admitted patients through its integrated learning features. For now, these apps will make hospitals more efficient, but in the future, these AI initiatives could easily be used to access patients’ data and aid in predicting patients’ needs in a much improved way and putting the focus on prevention versus treatment.

The company said it would partner with the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and the Imperial College on the project and in the testing of its apps.  In fact, DeepMind has involved over 15 Doctors and informatics Nurses from the Royal Free Hospital to help in designing the Streams app by getting input on what information they would need from the app.  Co-founder and leader of applied AI at DeepMind, Mustafa Suleyman said;

“…We decided to involve Doctors, frontline nurses and other healthcare professionals from the early stages because they know better than anyone else what is required to provide excellent care.”

According to Mustafa;

“DeepMind was founded to solve intelligence and making the world a better place.”

All in all, it remains to be seen whether the company will help solve some of the toughest challenges affecting the society or will aid in bringing notable changes to human lives around the world.  In the meantime, start getting used to hearing a robotic voice telling you to cough a little harder ;).