In the United Kingdom, Google’s artificial intelligence arm, DeepMind, could soon have access to genomic information for thousands of people. While DeepMind is already working with the National Health Service to help monitor patients using its technology, it could soon be meeting with Genomic England which has genetic data for over 100,000 people, to expand its role in using genetic data in its algorithms.
What could Google do with this data? Critics fear Google will use it to promote targeted advertisements based on people’s health risks and genetic profile. The fear is also the buying and selling of genetic data making it a high value commodity of the digital age. DeepMind says it won’t ever use the patient data to link to Google products or services or be commercialized, though that seems to be doing little to alleviate the critics’ fears.