Chips, Open Banking and the NHS

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Chips, Open Banking and the NHS

Facebook enters the AI chip arms race – but Google has its own ideas

Facebook has joined the battle to develop the fastest artificial intelligence chip, with the goal of surpassing what is currently readily available from Apple and Google, and eventually being able to provide digital assistants with enough common sense to discuss a variety of topics with users. Facebook also wants to be able to use AI to monitor videos posted to the site in real time, as well as to assist human moderators when it comes to making decisions about what content to allow.

Yann LeCun, Facebook’s Chief AI Scientist, explained that in order for AI to make the leaps that Facebook wants, new hardware needs to be designed. This hardware needs to address problems such as the vast quantities of power that AI systems consume when run at the scale of a company like Facebook, as well as minimising latency. In this instance, Facebook has opted not to work with another company to manufacture their new AI chips, and has instead decided to build the chips themselves.

Just last week, Google announced (in collaboration with DeepMind) the launch of their new PlaNet open source Deep Planning Network, which is an AI agent that uses images to learn world models and solve tasks. One PlaNet agent was able to solve six tasks in around 2000 attempts each, whereas previous agents have required up to 50 times as many attempts to achieve similar results.

One year on, Open Banking is finally gaining momentum

The 13th of January this year marked the first anniversary of the Open Banking movement. Although hailed as a revolution in banking, the idea failed to generate quite as much interest as many thought it would last year. Some have attributed this slow adoption rate to a general lack of trust among consumers regarding sharing their personal data. And who could blame them – in this modern age of GDPR and a new privacy scandal seemingly every day, convincing the general public to put their faith in an initiative that requires them to be extra forthcoming with their personal financial data seems like a lost cause.

However, many commentators have stated that they believe 2019 will be the year that open banking finally gains some traction and starts to live up to its potential. Banks and fintechs have now had over a year to pay attention to their customers’ needs and use that information to put together solutions that address those needs properly.

Barclays and HSBC have led the charge by allowing customers to view multiple bank accounts via one online banking app, and it is moves like this that will give Open Banking the boost it needs to become the revolutionary practice that many feel it can be.

The NHS to implement new code of conduct policy for artificial intelligence

The potential benefits of artificial intelligence in the healthcare space are common knowledge at this point – from radiology to personalised medicine and beyond, it seems as though AI is set to completely re-invent the way medical professionals diagnose and treat patients.

However, as AI technology in healthcare gradually becomes less of a concept and more of an actuality, the UK’s Department of Health and Social care has announced it will introduce a brand new code of conduct, intended to ensure that the NHS only uses the very best and safest new technology.

The code will, in theory, make it easier for suppliers to develop artificial intelligence technologies to tackle major medical issues such as dementia and cancer, while ensuring patient safety, autonomy and dignity. There is also hope that the new code will ‘promote the UK as the best place in the world to invest in healthtech’.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said: ‘Artificial intelligence has the potential to save lives, but also brings challenges that must be addressed. We need to create an ecosystem of innovation to allow this type of technology to flourish in the NHS and support our incredible workforce to save lives, by equipping clinicians with the tools to provide personalised treatments’.

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