The rapid development of artificial intelligence technology tools in medicine is set to throw up a multitude of ethical and legal issues, according to PhD Researcher, Chris Boniface from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.
Mr Boniface cites a UK case in November 2015, where a patient died following heart surgery involving AI that was deemed low-risk.
In November 2018, the coroner found that this death was due in part, because the operation was undertaken with the assistance of a robot.
“The arrival of robotic surgeons, diagnostic tools and scanners has brought with it new questions for medical negligence,” Mr Boniface says.
“In the last five years, there has been unprecedented progress in the development of artificial intelligence tools for the medical field, with examples of machines capable of performing entire medical tasks entirely on their own becoming reality.”
The PhD Researcher, specialising in emerging technologies’ impact on health systems, believes the new dawn throws up a multitude of problems for existing negligence laws.
“Who owes a duty of care, such as proximity and foreseeability of harm?”
A question he suggests will have huge ramifications for medical professionals, patients and medical equipment manufacturers.