AI development must be guided by ethics, human wellbeing and responsible innovation

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An expert in emerging technology from the IEEE Standards Association describes the elements that must be considered as artificial intelligence proliferates across healthcare.
The topic of ethics and artificial intelligence is not new, but businesses and policy creators should prioritize human wellbeing and environmental flourishing – also known as societal value – in the discussion, says John C. Havens, director of emerging technology and strategic development at the IEEE Standards Association.

Typically, ethical concerns tied to AI largely focus on risk, harm and responsibility; bias against race and gender; unintended consequences; and cybersecurity and hackers.

These are important concerns, but Havens contends that as AI systems are created, they must directly address human-centric, values-driven issues as key performance indicators of success to build trust with end users.

Havens further says that AI systems must also prioritize human wellbeing (specifically, aspects of caregiving, mental health and physiological needs not currently included in the GDP) and environmental flourishing as the ultimate metrics of success for society along with fiscal prosperity. Flourishing means restoration of the ecosystem, not just avoiding harm,

Healthcare IT News sat down with Havens, author of "Heartificial Intelligence: Embracing Humanity to Maximize Machines," to discuss these and other important issues surrounding AI and ethics.

Q. Please discuss why and how ethics should play an important role in artificial intelligence technologies.

A. Whether it's a simple form of machine learning or a more complex application, the ethics related to artificial intelligence technologies are complex. There are multiple reasons for this, including the speed and volume at which AI systems can function, oftentimes faster and with less errors than humans.

In addition, when people don't understand how their personal data is being used in association with an AI system, the intentions of designers or manufacturers are irrelevant if the functionality of an AI is not clearly understood.

Ethics are the principles that govern a person's behavior and…
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