ALICE the robot visits Bloomsbury
The INSIGHT Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) team was very pleased to take part in the Bloomsbury Festival 2021. The festival took place across a week in October 2021 and is focused on science and art.
The theme this year was ‘Shining Light’, so we thought we would shine a light on the subject of machine learning and the use of data in healthcare and research.
We took this one step further at the Discovery Hub by bringing along a life-size ALICE, who could look at an object and identify it... or not!
We used a camera as ALICE’s eyes, linked up to a piece of software programmed to recognise objects. The software had varying levels of success, which led to our most informative conversations.
Some of the questions raised by interactions with ALICE
We also talked about how researchers and healthcare professionals were using the principles of machine learning and applying them to big datasets. For example, using OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scans to teach a computer to identify eye conditions earlier.
We had a brilliant time with all the people we met and spoke to. It was rewarding to see adults and children join all the dots together themselves. Our conversations led to people starting to understand the processes involved in machine learning in healthcare. We hope that our audience will take the ideas behind ALICE back to their homes and schools, and use them to learn more about the subject. and how we can make a difference using this tool to advance scientific discovery.