End the duopoly

Healthcare AI Does Not Need A New Hippocratic Oath

Photo: Getty Ethics in AI is a major issue, especially in response to the role that artificial technology has played in growing hate crime , destabilizing democracy , radicalizing youth and scaling up discrimination — all while profiteering from it.

This is of utmost concern when life-and-death decisions are automated — as in healthcare. This resulted in broad discussions about the need for data scientists to take a form of the Hippocratic oath — or even that AI solutions should take it in some form.

However, if you do work in healthcare, you’ll know that ethics in healthcare technology is much further along than in software technology. I challenge you to live by an older oath, which also has the benefit of putting the AI revolution in a much humbler historical context.

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Healthcare Technology Through The Ages

Pharmacy — practiced since the beginning of civilization and documented since the beginning of writing — is the first form of healthcare technology. Instead of directly seeing patients, a pharmacist would concoct potions, pills, creams and devices that patients or physicians would buy. They claimed to relieve pain, get you back on your feet or make you younger, prettier, happier or sexier.

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