Healthcare

Babylon Health erases AI test event for its chatbot doctor

©iStock/t_kimura

Babylon Health has removed all traces of an AI test event it held last year to promote its chatbot doctor.

The company’s GP at Hand app, which features the chatbot and can provide a video link with a doctor, was promoted by former UK digital secretary Matt Hancock and is backed by the NHS.

Furthermore, Samsung partnered with Babylon Health last year to integrate the service with compatible Galaxy devices

Babylon Health’s AI-powered chatbot aims to provide guidance on how a patient should proceed. The idea is to reduce the pressure on the health service from patients whose symptoms could be dealt with at home.

In theory, it’s a great idea and will one day be how we access healthcare. However, as AI News has reported in the past, it’s currently not robust enough and has presented advice which could result in fatalities.

Twitter user ‘Dr Murphy’ has been highlighting the failures of GP at Hand over the past few years.

One concerning example provided by Murphy was of an obese 48-year-old heavy smoker patient that’s presented himself with chest pains. Anyone with common sense would advise calling 999 immediately. However, the chatbot suggested booking a consultation “in the next few hours”.

This particular issue has since been rectified, but similar dangerous scenarios are still being discovered. The situation is a clear example of why rigorous, proven, and independent testing needs to be established before AIs can begin offering life or death advice.

In June last year, Babylon Health held an event bragging about its AI capabilities beating trainee GPs at the MRCGP exam used for testing their ability to diagnose medical problems.

Trainee GPs have an average passmark of 72 percent over the past five years. “How did Babylon Health do?” asked Dr Mobasher Butt at the event, a director at Babylon Health. “It got 82 percent”.

In recent days, the video of the event has been deleted from Babylon Health’s YouTube account. Even more intriguing, the company has removed all links to news coverage of it from the ‘Babylon in the news’ part of its website.

Here’s a before and after comparison:

In the left-hand screenshot, we can see coverage of the event prior to deletion. In a screenshot from today on the right, articles from Forbes and Newsweek have been erased.

The quiet deletion of the company’s AI test event from last year appears to be some admission that findings presented at the event were misleading. As of writing, the chatbot is still live.

We reached out to Babylon Health this morning for clarification on the reason for the deletions, but we’re reaching the end of play and have yet to hear back.

Update Babylon Health issued the following statement: “As a fast-paced and dynamic health-tech company, Babylon is constantly refreshing the website with new information about our products and services. As such, older content is often removed to make way for the new. “

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