An artificial intelligence program has been launched by Google in Thailand to screen for a diabetic eye disease which causes permanent blindness as per their announcement on Thursday.
Thailand’s eye screening program follows a similar Google program in India and highlights a push by big tech companies to show the social benefits of new AI technologies.
In a Google event in Bangkok on Thursday, Kent Walker, Google’s Senior Vice President for Global Affairs, said it’s our responsibility as a society to use AL in the best possible way.
Topics such as stopping illegal fishing in Indonesia and other social benefits of Google’s AL projects were also highlighted during the event.
In Partnership with a Thai state-run Rajavithi Hospital, Google announced its diabetes program in Thailand. This followed a joint-study which found the AI program to have an accuracy rate of 95 percent when it comes to disease detection, compared with 74 percent from opticians or eye doctors.
The program analyses patients’ eye screen results to assess if they are at a risk of vision loss, which will enable them to have preemptive treatment.
High sugar consumption is common in Thailand amongst its 69 million population and also the country is one of the world’s most important sugar producers.
Since 2015, the Thai government has been campaigning against behavior that can lead to diabetes and has made the diabetic eye screening one of the country’s national health indicators.
Ravajithi Hospital’s assistant director, Paisan Ruamviboonsuk told reporters that Thailand has only around 1,400 eye doctors for its 5 million diabetic patients, who are all at risk of the vision loss.
Paisan said that they intend to achieve a nationwide eye screening rate of 60 percent which is also the Thai government’s target as per the program.
Google would grant about $25 million globally next near to humanitarian and environmental projects seeking to use AI for good as per their announcement in October.