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Using AI ethically to tackle covid-19

Academic Journal article by Stephen Cave, Jess Whittlestone, Rune Nyrup, Seán Ó hÉigeartaigh, Rafael Calvo

Using AI ethically to tackle covid-19BMJ 2021;372:n364.

The authors argue that taking a principled approach is crucial to the successful use of AI in pandemic management. 

Key Messages:

      • AI based technologies promise benefits for tackling a pandemic like covid-19, but also raise ethical challenges for developers and decision makers
      • If an ethical approach is not taken, the risks increase of unintended harmful consequences and a loss of stakeholder trust
      • Ethical challenges from the use of AI systems arise because they often require large amounts of personal data; automate decisions previously made by humans; and can be highly complex and opaque
      • The four pillars of biomedical ethics—beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice—are a helpful way of seeing how these challenges can arise in public health
      • Open and transparent communication with diverse stakeholder groups during development of AI systems is the best way of tackling these challenges

This paper is from a collection of articles proposed by the WHO Department of Digital Health and Innovation and commissioned by The BMJ. The BMJ retained full editorial control over external peer review, editing, and publication of these articles. Open access fees were funded by WHO.

Download Academic Journal article