Malaria-hunting AI microscope is ready for debut

Microscopic view of malaria
A microscopic view of a blood sample shows the telltale signs of malaria as purple dots. (Intellectual Ventures Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO — Can artificial intelligence help battle malaria and other infectious diseases? Intellectual Ventures CEO Nathan Myhrvold says it’s time for his company’s AI-enabled microscope to join the fray.

“We’ve gotten to the stage where the machine learning system is better than humans,” Myhrvold said last weekend here at the World Conference of Science Journalists.

He said Intellectual Ventures will announce a partnership with a Chinese company later this month to commercialize the Autoscope technology, which has been under development for years at IV’s lab in Bellevue, Wash.

Myhrvold declined to name the company or provide details about the deal, but he held it up as an example of how technology can further the cause of global health and development.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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