MI Lunch Seminar with Wendy Rogers
3.11 David Hume Room
Dugald Steward Building
Tue 17 September 2019
Wendy Rogers, Professor of Clinical Ethics, Macquarie University, Sydney
Talk title: AI-enabled healthcare: mapping the ethical terrain
Abstract: AI seems to have a lot to offer healthcare, from personalised medicine to streamlined administration of health systems. AIs of various sorts may soon have the capacity to take on the routine, tedious or error-prone aspects of healthcare, thereby freeing up human healthcare professionals to spend more time in those aspects of healthcare that require uniquely human skills. It seems like a win-win situation: more efficient and potentially higher quality care, and more rewarding jobs for the humans in the loop.
In this paper I argue that, like any new technology in healthcare, all AI applications should be assessed for safety, efficacy and effectiveness. But beyond these basic requirements lie deeper and more complex ethical questions. Foundational values in healthcare such as autonomy, trust and fairness are in tension with potential benefits from AI, leading to questions about what we might be prepared to give up in order to access benefits. Transformative AI may render some of our traditional concepts obsolete. For example, individuals who receive personalised healthcare from their smart phones are not patients in the traditional sense, yet they may share the same vulnerabilities against which the ethical norms of the doctor-patient relationship stand guard. Without the relationship, how can their interests be protected in ethically robust ways? Finally, I question the fit between AI solutions and the goals of medicine.
Speaker bio: Wendy Rogers is Professor of Clinical Ethics at Macquarie University. She is co-chair of the Safety, Quality and Ethics program of the Australian Alliance on AI in Healthcare, and a founding member of the International Network on the Future of AI and Medical Ethics (INFAIME). She has worked in bioethics for over 25 years, leading research on topics including the ethics of surgical innovation, voluntary and forced organ donation, the role of vulnerability in clinical and research ethics, and overdiagnosis. Prof Rogers is currently leading the revision of the Australian human research ethics guidelines, and received the 2019 NHMRC ethics award for her services to ethics guidance and policy in Australia.
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Human health is essential for the enjoyment and maximisation of almost all human activities. As our health futures rapidly evolve alongside great medical, scientific, and technological advancement, we are faced with the obligation to both protect patients and promote ethical research. How to successfully navigate these interconnected and complex relationships is a challenge not yet met. The Mason Institute is at the forefront of research into the protection and promotion of human health. The MI Lunch Series reaches across the boundaries of discipline and institution to directly engage with crucial human health actors – researchers, practitioners, policymakers, patients, and the public – to exploit on-going research and explore this challenge.
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