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Photo: Chesnot/Getty Images

The whole point of artificial-intelligence systems is that they can learn — but they still have to start somewhere. And the nascent field of health care AI is still focused on those early building blocks.

Where it stands: Google already has a leg up on some of its competitors, because of the data it already collects through search and Gmail, NPR reports.

What they're saying: "As companies like Google and other traditional consumer-oriented companies start moving into this space, it is certainly clear that they bring the capability of taking much of the information they have about us and be able to apply it," said Reed Tuckson, a member of the advisory board for Verily, Alphabet's health care arm.

What else: On top of that, Google is working with researchers at Duke and Stanford to recruit volunteers — the goal is to get 10,000 of them — who contribute far more data.

  • Participants fill out regular health surveys, use a tool that tracks their sleep, and wear a watch that monitors their heart rate and steps (although the watch seems to not work perfectly).
  • "It's sort of a way of donating your body while it's still alive," one participant told NPR.

Go deeper: Adversarial attacks are a blind spot for medical AI

Go deeper

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months:

Biden's debut nightmare

President-elect Biden speaks in Wilmington on Nov. 24. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

A dim, gloomy scene seems increasingly set for Joe Biden's debut as president.

The state of play: He'll address — virtually — a virus-weary nation, with record-high daily coronavirus deaths, a flu season near its peak, restaurants and small businesses shuttered by wintertime sickness and spread.