UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering


Prof Blandford comments on the ‘Wild West’ of AI start-ups in BBC programme

2 November 2018

Professor Ann Blandford offered a balanced addition to BBC Horizon commentary on the new breed of AI tech start-up companies.

Ann Blandford

Professor Ann Blandford, Director of UCL Institute of Digital Health (IDH) was featured as an expert voice on yesterday’s BBC Horizon programme ‘Diagnosis on Demand? The Computer Will See You Now’.

The show explored the incredible ways that artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising healthcare and what this means for the public and patients. Artificial intelligence is starting to transform healthcare beyond recognition - and tech companies large and small see almost limitless commercial opportunity. The ultimate vision is for accessible, affordable, better healthcare for almost everyone with a phone. In Britain, this is already radically changing how some of us see our GPs. And in a world with a chronic shortage of doctors, but where even the very poor own mobile phones, it could be truly revolutionary.

Ann offered a balanced addition to the programme’s commentary on the new breed of AI tech start-up companies saying, “At the moment it’s a bit of a Wild West, we see some companies that are going about things in a way that is highly informed by the concept of evidence and clinical trials, but at the other end we have the companies that are assuming the problems are much simpler than they often turn out to be - who are delivering things and putting them out on the market without the evidence to support their efficacy or appropriateness”. Tune into the 15min 30secs and 26min mark to hear more of her thoughts.

Ann’s research focuses on digital health and its implementation in the inherent ‘messiness’ of the real world, particularly the way that complex systems such as medical devices, smartphones, wearables and computers interact with the people that are using them. The UCL IDH is one of our closest partner Institutes and collaborators, facilitating interdisciplinary activity in digital health across UCL.