May 21 2018, 12:01am, The Times Artificial intelligence will be used to study patient data and spot cancer or dementia before people know they have it, Theresa May says in a speech to be given today. The prime minister says that harnessing genetic information and medical records to create programs that diagnose disease at the earliest stage is crucial to the nation’s prosperity.

Doing so will require much wider use of NHS data to generate the kind of machine-learning capable of detecting patterns that indicate disease and will prompt scrutiny of how records are used for such research. Officials insist that the NHS has learnt from the failure of a scheme to join up GP records into a national research database, which was scrapped two years ago after a revolt by Unlock quality journalism on the topics that you decide matter most.

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