Google recently teamed up with the Pentagon as part of the new, AI-driven “Predictive Health” program. Though only focused on “predictive cancer diagnoses” for now, Google and the military have apparent plans to expand the AI model for automating and predicting Covid-19 diagnoses.
At the beginning of September, Google Cloud announced that it had won a project from the Pentagon’s relatively new Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) to “prototype an AI-enabled digital pathology solution at select DoD [Department of Defense] facilities.” This prototype, per a Google Cloud press release, combines “augmented reality telescopes” with “AI-enabled” cancer detection tools that will allegedly improve the accuracy of “predictive cancer diagnoses.” It is the second DIU contract Google has won this year, with the first being related to combatting “cyber threats.”
The initial implementation of this Pentagon-funded, Google-created “digital pathology solution” will take place “at select Defense Health Agency (DHA) treatment facilities and Veterans Affairs hospitals in the United States,” and the program includes “future plans to expand across the broader U.S. Military Health System,” according to Google.
The initiative is part of a larger DIU-led program called “Predictive Health” that is also partnered with the joint AI effort of the US military and US intelligence community, the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center, and JAIC’s “Warfighter Health” initiative. The JAIC, which is currently led by a former Silicon Valley executive, is providing much of the funding for Predictive Health, while its related “Warfighter Health” initiative more broadly seeks “to field AI solutions that are aimed at transforming military health care.”
In addition to its stated goal of improving the accuracy of cancer diagnoses, the implementation of this Google-DIU AI-driven medical diagnosis tool aims to show “frontline health practitioners” that such tools “can improve the lives” of US troops, according to Google executives. As Mike Daniels, vice president of Global Public Sector at Google Cloud, noted in a statement, Google is “partnering with DIU to provide our machine learning and artificial intelligence technology to help frontline healthcare practitioners learn about capabilities that can improve the lives of our military men and women and their families.” Google also stated that the use of their tool at military health facilities would also “lower overall healthcare costs.”