Google launches Thai AI project

Google launches Thai AI project

An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich on Dec 5. (Reuters photo)
An illuminated Google logo is seen inside an office building in Zurich on Dec 5. (Reuters photo)

Google said on Thursday it had launched an artificial intelligence programme in Thailand to screen for a diabetic eye disease which causes permanent blindness.

The eye-screening programme in Thailand follows a similar Google programme in India and highlights a push by big tech companies to show the social benefits of new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

"As a society, we have a responsibility to use AI in the best possible way," Kent Walker, the company's Senior Vice President for Global Affairs, said in speech at a Google event in Bangkok on Thursday.

The event also highlighted other social benefits of Google's AI projects, such as stopping illegal fishing in Indonesia.

Google's Thailand diabetes programme was announced in partnership with a Thai state-run Rajavithi Hospital. This followed a joint-study which found the AI programme to have an accuracy rate of 95% when it comes to disease detection, compared with 74% from opticians or eye doctors.

The programme analyses patients' eye screen results to assess if they are at a risk of vision loss, which will enable them to have preemptive treatment.

Thailand is one of the world's most important sugar producers and high sugar consumption is common amongst its 69-million population.

The government has been campaigning against behaviour that can lead to diabetes and has made the diabetic eye screening one of the country's national health indicators since 2015.

Thailand has only around 1,400 eye doctors for its 5 million diabetic patients, who are all at risk of the vision loss, Paisan Ruamviboonsuk, Ravajithi Hospital's assistant director, told reporters.

Dr Paisan said the programme is intended to achieve a nationwide eye screening rate of 60%, which is also the government's target.

In October, Google said it would grant about $25 million globally next year to humanitarian and environmental projects seeking to use AI.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (3)

Rescuers scramble to free Chinese miners

BEIJING: Chinese rescuers drilled deep into the ground Thursday in an increasingly desperate bid to save 21 miners now trapped for almost two weeks, with one confirmed dead and still no signs of life from over half of the missing workers, state media reported.

14:45

Northeast scare

Community testing for Covid-19 continuing at locked down villages in Nakhon Phanom province, after a food vendor is found to have been infected by visitors from Bangkok over the New Year.

13:36

ฺNigerian arrested for selling drugs in Patong

PHUKET: A Nigerian man was arrested and amounts of crystal methamphetamine, cocaine and ecstasy seized, as he was allegedly making a delivery to customers in Patong area.

13:02