WHO calls for caution in using Artificial Intelligence for Public Healthcare
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently urged caution in using artificial intelligence (AI) for public healthcare, citing concerns about biased or misused data used by AI to make decisions. Although the organization acknowledged the potential of AI to improve access to health information, it emphasized the need to ensure that its implementation as a decision-support tool and for diagnostic care is done with great care.
Data used to train AI may be biased and generate misleading or inaccurate information, which could be misused to generate disinformation, according to the WHO. As a result, the U.N. health body stated that it is “imperative” to assess the risks of using generated large language model tools (LLMs), such as ChatGPT, to protect and promote human well-being and public health.
Rapidly gaining popularity, artificial intelligence applications are poised to upend the way businesses and society operate. In this article, we delve into the WHO’s concerns and explore the impact of AI on public healthcare.
The WHO’s Concerns
The WHO’s statement on AI in healthcare highlights the organization’s concerns about potential biases and misuses of data. This concern is not unwarranted, as there have been instances where AI-based decision-making algorithms have generated biased outcomes. For example, a study found that a commercial algorithm used to guide care for over 100 million people in the US was significantly less likely to refer black people than white people to programs that help manage complex medical needs.
According to the WHO, the use of AI in healthcare must be done with caution, as the models used may be misused to generate disinformation. The organization also emphasized that the use of AI in healthcare should not replace human judgment, and that AI should be seen as a decision-support tool rather than a replacement for human medical professionals.
Impact on Access to Healthcare Information
One of the potential benefits of AI in healthcare is its ability to improve access to information. AI can analyze vast amounts of data, enabling healthcare providers to make better decisions about patient care. AI can also help identify patterns and potential health risks, allowing for earlier intervention and prevention.
However, the WHO warns that the data used to train AI may be biased, leading to inaccurate or misleading information. This could result in incorrect diagnoses and treatments, leading to potentially harmful outcomes. In addition, the use of AI in healthcare could exacerbate existing inequalities in access to healthcare if certain populations are not adequately represented in the data used to train the AI models.
Impact on Diagnostic Care
AI has the potential to revolutionize diagnostic care by analyzing patient data to identify potential health issues. AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of patient data, such as medical records, lab results, and imaging data, to identify patterns that may indicate a particular condition.
However, the WHO cautions that the use of AI in diagnostic care should be done with caution. The organization warns that the models used to make diagnoses may be biased, leading to incorrect or missed diagnoses. In addition, the use of AI in diagnostic care could lead to overdiagnosis, resulting in unnecessary treatments and procedures.
The WHO’s cautionary note on the use of AI in healthcare highlights the potential risks and benefits of this emerging technology. While AI has the potential to improve access to healthcare information and revolutionize diagnostic care, there are concerns about biased or misused data that could lead to inaccurate or misleading information.
The use of AI in healthcare must be done with great care, ensuring that the models used are unbiased and accurate. In addition, AI should be seen as a decision-support tool rather than a replacement for human medical professionals. As AI applications in healthcare continue to grow in popularity, it is imperative that we carefully assess the risks and benefits to protect and promote human well-being and public health.
The future of AI in healthcare holds great promise, but it is essential to address the ethical and technical challenges associated with its implementation. By doing so, we can harness the potential of AI to improve healthcare outcomes while ensuring that it is used in a responsible and unbiased manner.