The ethics of artificial intelligence in healthcare settings

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to transform and revolutionise the healthcare industry. More specifically, it stands to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs, and increase productivity by providing customised and precise solutions. AI applications range from mental health to diagnosis, treatment, nursing, and hospital management. However, there are ethical concerns and obstacles that must be addressed, such as bias, data privacy, regulatory compliance, and various other ethical considerations. In this thesis, I critically apply the Principlist framework to the abovementioned issues, with the aim of incorporating AI into healthcare in a way that fosters dignity, solidarity, and trust in healthcare and technology. In a medical context, trust is critical because patients have no choice but to put themselves in the hands of healthcare practitioners who have the specialist knowledge they need. The relationship between patients and healthcare practitioners is thus one of dependency or asymmetry, whereby patients must assume that the healthcare practitioner has their best interests at heart. After applying the Principlist framework, I then use the three influential ethical theories: consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics, to consider the notion of morally competent AI in ‘robot’ form. This includes a critical consideration of human interactions with autonomous robots and some of the concerns elicited in this regard. Finally, I propose the ethics of responsibility, first introduced by Max Weber and subsequently developed by numerous influential thinkers, as a potential framework to address the ethical, legal, and social implications of AI in healthcare. I also explore the historical development of ethics of responsibility to gain valuable insight and apply these insights to AI in Healthcare. I conclude with some recommendations and insights that may be valuable for policymakers, practitioners, and the public in navigating the ethical challenges and ensuring the responsible and beneficial use of AI in healthcare settings.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsomming beskikbaar.
Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2023.