London looks to Artificial Intelligence for medical sector remedies

London is building on its reputation as Europe’s Artificial Intelligence growth capital to make major advances in the medical sector.

London-based digital health AI start-up, Babylon, announced at the end off 2018 it will be investing £77m ($100m) to double its London team to 1,000-plus and expand its AI capabilities to cover Chronic Disease Management – creating 500 new jobs for scientists and engineers in the capital.

Dr Ali Parsa, Babylon’s Founder and CEO, said: “London’s world-class talent pool and strengths in Artificial Intelligence and digital health made it the ideal location in which to build our expanded AI operations. We see this £77 million self-funded investment in job creation and AI research and development as a strategic catalyst in helping to support and foster the necessary R&D eco-system for Britain to remain at the forefront of global AI innovation, both now and into the future.”

Meanwhile, a trial between local AI company DeepMind and London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital found that AI technology could diagnose eye disease as accurately as some leading experts. BenevolentAI, which applies AI to develop new medicines for hard to treat diseases, received one of the largest funding rounds in 2018, raising $115m and making it one of London’s most recent unicorn companies.

These advances are being driven by a fast-growing AI knowledge cluster in London. Investment in innovation is strong, with venture capital funding in London’s AI sector increasing over two hundred per cent during the two-year period from 2015 to 2017, according to Pitchbook data.

Major international players are also supporting London’s AI ecosystem, with the high-profile acquisitions of Deepmind by Google, Swiftkey by Microsoft, Bloomsbury AI by Facebook and Magic Pony by Twitter.

The city’s world-class universities are also contributing leading AI talent, with 13 universities in the capital offering AI, machine learning and related undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. University College London (UCL) is home to the UK’s largest integrated Centre for AI, hosted by its Computer Science department. Imperial College London is also recognised as a world leader in AI research, with more than 600 staff working on AI projects across the College.

In addition, London’s strengths in AI research and development are being led out of the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s national centre for data science and artificial intelligence situated in London’s Knowledge Quarter.  

Nick Jennings, Vice Provost (Research and Enterprise) and Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Imperial College London, said: “Many of the most exciting developments in AI are embedded in and around research-intensive universities – a key driver of London’s success. The capital is one of the world’s top centres for AI talent, discovery and innovation. Imperial’s network of AI researchers are using and developing the technology to spot signs of cancer, improve safety of driverless cars, detect fake news and tackle humanitarian crises.”

(via London & Partners)