Google today announced that it has launched an artificial intelligence program in Thailand. The program’s purpose will be to screen for a diabetic eye disease that can cause permanent blindness. The company has previously launched a similar program in India. These programs are meant to showcase the social benefits of artificial intelligence.
“As a society, we have a responsibility to use AI in the best possible way,” said Kent Walker, Google’s Senior Vice President for Global Affairs, in a speech at a Google event in Bangkok earlier today.
The company has announced this program in Thailand in collaboration with Rajavithi Hospital, a state-run entity. The program follows a joint study which revealed that the AI program has an accuracy rate of 95 percent when detecting the disease compared to 74 percent from eye doctors or opticians. It looks at the patients’ eye screen results to determine if they’re at lisk of permanent blindness. Early detection leaves with time for pre-emptive treatment.
Thailand has the right conditions for a project of this sort. Ravajithi Hospital’s assistant director Paisan Ruamviboonsuk mentioned that the country only has around 1,400 eye doctors for the estimated five million diabetic patients in the country who are all at a risk of permanent blindness.