Britain's National Health Service, the NHS, is trialing an artificial intelligence chatbot to offer medical advice to patients across England - through the use of a messaging app known as babylon.
Beginning at the end of January, the digital healthcare service will be available for 1.2 million people across London, namely in Camden, Islington, Enfield and Barnet. The hope is that in six months time, babylon will be ready to roll-out across the country, powered by London start-up Babylon Health.
During an online consultation, the app repeatedly consults a large database in order to provide a quick and effective diagnosis of a patient's symptoms. The ultimate aim of babylon is to provide medical instruction for minor complaints, whilst advising the more serious cases to seek professional help. According to a brochure published by the company, the service can "process billions of symptom combinations" at a "faster rate than the human brain" - a benefit which the NHS hopes will reduce stress on Accident and Emergency departments.