Suleyman told The Guardian: “If you have diabetes, you’re 25 times more likely to go blind. If we can detect this, and get in there as early as possible, then 98% of the most severe visual loss might be prevented.”

Earlier this year, DeepMind sent shock waves after beating a human player at the complex game of Go. The Alphabet-owned AI firm is keen to use the same technology to revolutionize healthcare, but has sparked controversy in the past.

This is the second collaboration between the NHS and the tech giant. The first saw the development of a smartphone app that aimed to alert staff of patients at risk of kidney failure. The data-sharing agreement between the NHS and DeepMind was heavily criticized as Google was given access to the healthcare data of up to 1.6 million patients.

Critics were concerned about the ways in which patient data would be shared and whether it would remain secure.

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