When Google acquired the British AI (artificial intelligence) startup DeepMind for a cool $600 million in 2014, the stage was set for this, until then, relatively unknown tech company to become a leader in the field of artificial intelligence. Ever since, DeepMind has not disappointed, and has made numerous advances in this ever-growing domain.

DeepMind’s claim to fame was the development of the first computer programme to beat a professional human player in the popular board game Go in 2015. AlphaGo, as it was aptly named, showcased the great strides that DeepMind had made in the field of machine learning, but for the average Joe this is, however impressive it may be, still not much of a real-life application of expensive and complicated technology.

It is important to note, however, that DeepMind’s technology is grounded in neuroscience and uses studies of the human brain and the ways in which humans learn to develop the artificial intelligence of its programmes.

Why is this important?

By simulating the ways in which humans learn, DeepMind’s AI aims to develop simulated neural networks and to advance machine learning in the long term. In the real world, this can be applied to develop machines that have human-like thought processes, which can ultimately carry out jobs that were previously done by humans.

Just recently, DeepMind collaborated with the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to train itself to be able to spot early signs of degenerative eye conditions. This was done by giving DeepMind access to a million images of historical eye scans and the associated anonymous patient data. DeepMind hopes that this will eventually allow the AI to be able to spot warning signs much earlier than a human could.

While the automation of jobs and the replacement of humans by machines is not new – and is long past the point of being science fiction – it does send a strong message when there is talk of artificial intelligence replacing the expertise of doctors and medical specialists.

Remember this name. It is sure to shake up the world of AI in the future.

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