Ethical Risks and Issues of AI in Medicine | Podcast

A road sign reading right and wrong going in opposite directionsEthical Risks and Issues

Though there has been plenty of technological developments over the years that have impacted our everyday lives and how we see the world, AI continues to be a controversial field. 

So, today, we’re going to be focusing on what the effect of the AI-based topics, as discussed in my blogs up until this point, have on the medical field. This will be in the form of a podcast in which myself and two of my colleagues discuss the ethical risks and issues of having AI-based technology in the medical field.

While we began with a quick introduction in order to catch the listeners up on the topic and what the premise is, you can skip ahead to the ethical issues and risks at minute 04:30 in the podcast. You can also find an outline of the topics discussed (and correlating minutes) below.

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Could Machines Diagnose Better Than My Doctor?

A cartoon of a hand clicking on an ipad screen with medical diagnostics information on itSome weeks ago, I posted a blog about the Top 5 Ways AI Could Replace My Doctor, where I briefly mentioned how AI, such as supercomputer IBM Watson, is helping diagnose conditions and assisting with Surgical Process Modelling.

For today’s blog, I have racked up a variety of cases demonstrating AI’s influence on diagnostic practices in areas like surgery, oncology, and generally assisting doctors with patient care.

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Should Robots Mimic Human Emotional Intelligence?

How Human Should AI-Systems Be?

A robot seemingly mimicking human emotion in its appearance

So far I have introduced how AI has become prominent in the medical field. From first being recognised in 1943, to making waves in the 1960s and 1970s, to debates about whether machines can think or not. I have yet to properly discuss one main aspect of AI. That it is not human.

AI does not have fundamental human emotion, sympathy, empathy, and understanding. This is a common concern, especially in medicine where interpersonal interaction is common and necessary in many aspects. Professionals are even working on the development of ‘affective computing‘, in which AI systems detect human emotional behaviour and appropriately respond by stimulating human affects.

Yet, philosopher Daniel Dennett urges that the different AI technologies are just tools and should not be seen as emotionally intelligent colleagues, as that implies that they are more intelligent and ‘alive’ than they actually are.

“All we’re going to see in our own lifetimes are intelligent tools, not colleagues. Don’t think of them as colleagues, don’t try to make them colleagues and, above all, don’t kid yourself that they’re colleagues” – Philosopher Daniel Dennett

This raises plenty of questions. Should AI technology mimic human emotional intelligence, particularly empathy, for functional purposes? Does it defeat the purpose of the technology not being human? Is there a place for it in modern medical care? How does it impact doctors and doctor-patient relations?

So, let’s take a closer look at the ambiguous area of implementing such progressive digital technology into the medical profession.

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Top 5 Ways AI Could Replace My Doctor

Sophia the robot speaking at an AI conference for GOOD Global Summit, ITU, Geneva, Switzerland
Sophia speaking at an AI conference for GOOD Global Summit, ITU, Geneva, Switzerland. By International Telecommunication Union [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Digital Technology is Taking Over

Take a look at the news. Digital technology affects practically every profession. This includes medicine and health care where AI can replace various aspects of the field.

Digital technology and artificial intelligence runs most of our modern world. Take Siri managing our calendars, our social networking sites suggesting people to follow, cars learning to park themselves, or a humanoid robot called Sophia that uses AI amongst other systems to operate and communicate with humans. You can even follow Sophia on Twitter!

Either way, every field makes use of AI in one way or another, including medicine. Keep reading to find out the top 5 ways AI could replace your doctor.

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Can Machines Think? | AI in the Medical Field

A Brief Overview of AI

"Think Outside the Box" written on a chalkboard

Before diving into AI in the medical field and how a machine’s intelligence and ability to think may affect how it is incorporated into the medical field, take a look at this brief overview of AI to paint the bigger picture.

Scientists have dreamed of creating an ‘electronic brain’ throughout history. The ‘electronic brain’ refers to an expert computer system capable of performing tasks that would normally require human intelligence and potentially, the ability to think.

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An Introduction | The Rise of AI

The Rise of AI in Medicine

Photo of a stethoscope wrapped around an illustration of a heart

Ever wonder if those films about robots and AI taking over from humans, say in terms of jobs in medicine, will ever come true? You’ve come to the right place.

It would seem easier to first introduce this blog for what it isn’t, rather than what it is.

This blog is not about crime-eliminating cyborgs (think all the way back to ‘RoboCop’). It is, however, much more in the vein of ‘I, Robot’ starring Will Smith, a narrative where artificially intelligent robots have replaced humans in a variety of public sector jobs. Read More

Welcome | New Blog About AI in Medicine

Welcome to my blog about the rise of AI in the medical field!

Welcome to my brand new blog! In the next couple of weeks I will be posting plenty of entries about AI in the medical field as part of my university project.

These entries will cover topics such as AI in medical education, AI becoming more prominent in medical decision-making, and the influence of AI on the future of the medical field.

Until the first blog post is ready to go, follow Electronic Brains on Facebook and Twitter to keep yourself in the loop!

Also, for a brief look into what this blog is about, check out my About page.