Google Removes Claim That Its Artificial Intelligence Helps Detect Cancer Earlier
Omitted cancer reference raises questions about company's $1.2 billion dollar moonshot investment in anti-ageing firm.
February 4, 2021
Google (GOOGL) has removed a key cancer detection claim form its latest annual report. Google no longer makes the bold claim its artificial intelligence (AI) helps doctors detect cancer earlier. In it’s 2019 10-K, Google announced:
“...our investments in machine learning over a decade have enabled us to build products that are smarter and more helpful. For example, our investments in AI are enabling doctors to detect cancer earlier.”
In its 2020 10-K, Google omits the cancer claim and replaces it with a relatively underwhelming voice search example:
“Our investments in machine learning over the past decade have enabled us to build products that are smarter and more helpful. For example, a huge breakthrough in natural language understanding, called BERT, now improves results for almost every English language search query.”
Google included the word “cancer” a second time in the prior year’s 10-K. It was in reference to a partnership between anti-ageing firm Calico and biopharma company AbbVie. Google is an investor in Calico, having already provided $480 million and pledging up to $750 million more.
Despite an update from Calico about its early stage clinical programs, Google removed any mention of Calico from its 2020 10-K. It’s also interesting that while AbbVie (ABBV) discloses details in its 2019 10-K about its partnership with Calico— which has been extended through 2027— AbbVie does not mention Google.
If Google’s AI was really enabling the early detection of cancer, it seems logical that the company would be eager to update investors— as well as whether it plans to invest the rest of its $1.2 billion commitment to Calico— rather than omit it from the latest 10-K.
DuDil has contacted Google about the reason for the omission and whether the company’s AI is no longer enabling early detection. We’ve also asked for the names of the doctors who used Google’s AI to detect cancer earlier. We will update subscribers when we have new information.
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