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Guinea Pigs Rowing with Oars of Babylon

By MadAsHelll&NotGoingtoTakeitAnymore, Sep 13 2017 01:47PM

Part 2 of the DigiApp Investigation

The people investing in Babylon include:

London based Hoxton Ventures - a $40M European venture capital fund with investments in 17 companies including Deliveroo, Babylon Health, Yieldify, Campanja (since acquired by 24/7 Media), Immunio, Mavrx, TourRadar and bd4Travel.

Swedish investment company Kinnevik AB, that invests in technology-based consumer services

DeepMind Technologies Limited, a British artificial intelligence company founded in September 2010, acquired by Google in 2014 and since invested in by major venture capital firms Horizons Ventures, Founders Fund,Scott Banister and Elon Musk.

The investors’ experience is in high volume consumer products that have only been monetised by advertising. The gamble is becoming the Uber for healthcare. Learning all that they can about your healthcare behaviours and then selling the information - hence the DeepMind Technologies investment.

Ending the 999 service and monetising the user

In essence the Babylon app is aimed at ending the 999 service - because that is the 'mindspace' that it occupies. Once it achieves this, the purpose shifts towards monetising the user, to manage their insurance-based needs. Because that is the only 'advertising free' environment that the app can occupy: the user paying the development costs.

Users can choose to subscribe to a monthly fee and gain unlimited virtual access to general practitioners, or opt for a pay-as-you-go model. Realistically this replicates the telephony model and locks users into using the service - or one similar - once they begin to use it.

Pre-screening users’ health conditions in Work Capability Assessment

After trialling their app in two Essex GP practices, in January 2016, Babylon began developing an A.I. feature that would pre-screen the users' health conditions. This replicates the approach to medical models found in the Work Capability Assessment and failed LiMA product from the DWP - which was criticised as “tick box software”.

The claim will be that the AI is much better and much more advanced. As with LiMA the public will not be permitted to look under the lid due to 'commercial confidentiality' and the structure of the machine learning is likely to be risk based analysis and risk reduction rather than diagnosis - which would require a far higher standard of compliance and safety testing.

Up against mainstream media complicity with corporate interests

Several months ago, 999 Call for the NHS formally complained to the BBC over air time it gave to Ali Parsa’s promotion of the Babylon app on BBC Newsnight. As a Newsnight guest discussing the future of the NHS, Ali Parsa proved he is a very crafty PR salesman posing as an objective commentator on his own product - the Babylon App.

The BBC didn't question him about any of the issues surrounding how Babylon App got itself on the CCG good books - repeating a similarly dubious pattern established when Ali Parsa took over the running of Hinchingbrooke Hospital for Circle. A totally uncritical media gave him many interviews and free PR for his false claims that Circle was making things better. But Ali Parsa ditched the contract when he realised there was no profit to be made.  

The biased, poorly researched Newsnight programme also failed to mention that NHS privatisation is key to the current GP crisis. In 2010 the Health Select Committee found that running the NHS as a ‘market’ cost the NHS 14% of its budget a year, compared to 5% on administration in the pre-market late-80s. This difference is 9% of the NHS budget - over £10billion a year of the current £120bn budget: more than the entire cost of every GP in the land.

There was nothing about the NHS Reinstatement Bill, which was at the time due its second reading in the House of Commons. Just a continuum of the status quo that the NHS is in need of private company support.

There was no suggestion that NHS underfunding - which started with the McKinsey review of NHS spending after the 2008 bankers’ crash - is entirely unnecessary and counter productive, as the multiplier effect from NHS spending helps to grow the economy and the tax take.

Richard Murphy of Tax Justice points out that if central government had given half of the money it created via Quantitative Easing to local and devolved government, there would be no social care crisis - which is considerably a source of the A&E crisis.

And that it’s time that the government, BBC, the Office for Budget Responsibility, economists and others stop lying about the extent of the government’s debt.

999 Call for the NHS told the BBC, “You might not agree with these analyses but as a public service broadcaster you have a duty to inform the public of their existence.”

They were joined by many others on social media but the BBC claimed that they had allowed air time for objectivity throughout the interview.

Steve Carne, 999 Call for the NHS, is ashamed to say he used to work in PR. He was insensed by what he saw as free advertising on the Newsnight programme: “its called Editorial Advertising, you write a blurb with a bit of controversial or catchy hooks and you get a guest on the telly talking about that issue but of course what they are really doing is selling their product.”

See what you think from a 2 minute section that Steve Carne put together.

The Shame of Newsnight

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