Artificial intelligence is infiltrating healthcare. We shouldn’t let him make all the decisions.
AI is already being used in healthcare. Some hospitals are using technology to help triage patients. Some use it to aid in diagnosis or to develop treatment plans. But the true extent of AI adoption is unclear, says Sandra Wachter, professor of technology and regulation at the University of Oxford in the UK.
“Sometimes we don’t really know what kind of systems are being used,” says Wachter. But we know their adoption is likely to increase as technology improves and healthcare systems look for ways to cut costs, she says.
Research suggests doctors may already have a lot of faith in these technologies. In a study published a few years ago, oncologists were asked to compare their skin cancer diagnoses with the findings of an AI system. Many of them accepted the AI results, even when those results contradicted their own clinical opinion.
There is a very real risk that we will come to depend on these technologies to a greater extent than we should. And this is where paternalism could come in.
“Paternalism is captured by the idiom ‘the doctor knows best’” write Melissa McCradden and Roxanne Kirsch of the Hospital for Sick Children in Ontario, Canada, in a recent scientific journal article. The idea is that medical training makes a doctor the best person to make a decision for the person being treated, regardless of that person’s feelings, beliefs, culture, and anything else that might influence the choices each person makes. between us does.
“Paternalism can be recapitulated when AI is positioned as the highest form of evidence, replacing the omniscient doctor with omniscient AI,” McCradden and Kirsch continue. They say there is a “growing trend towards algorithmic paternalism”. This would be problematic for a whole host of reasons.
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