Doctors and public health experts are warning of the potential harm that artificial intelligence (AI) could cause to millions of people and even pose a threat to humanity. They are calling for the development of artificial general intelligence to be halted until regulations are made. The medical world is joining voices with technology industry leaders in Silicon Valley, including Elon Musk, who have previously called for a pause in AI studies until the necessary regulations are formed.
Despite AI’s potential to revolutionize healthcare by improving the diagnosis of diseases, finding better ways to treat patients, and extending care to more people, health experts from the UK, US, Australia, Costa Rica, and Malaysia have warned of the adverse health effects that artificial intelligence development could produce. Risks associated with medicine and healthcare include the potential for AI bugs to harm patients, issues with data privacy and security, and the use of AI in ways that can exacerbate social and health inequalities.
The experts have provided an example of harm caused by AI, citing AI-driven pulse oximeters that overestimate blood oxygen levels in darker-skinned patients, resulting in inadequate treatment of hypoxia. More broadly, they warned of global threats to human health and even human existence from artificial intelligence, including the potential for AI to harm the health of millions through the use of lethal autonomous weapons and the mental health effects of mass unemployment if AI-based systems displace large numbers of workers.
The call for regulations is crucial and urgent as AI development continues to advance rapidly. Without proper regulations, AI could cause more harm than good, and the benefits could be outweighed by the risks. Governments, technology companies, and the medical community all need to work together to ensure that AI does not pose a threat to our health, wellbeing, and existence.