4 Foster responsibility and accountability
Humans require clear, transparent specification of the tasks that systems can perform and the conditions under which they can achieve the desired level of performance; this helps to ensure that health care providers can use an AI technology responsibly. Although AI technologies perform specific tasks, it is the responsibility of human stakeholders to ensure that they can perform those tasks and that they are used under appropriate conditions.
Responsibility can be assured by application of “human warranty”, which implies evaluation by patients and clinicians in the development and deployment of AI technologies. In human warranty, regulatory principles are applied upstream and downstream of the algorithm by establishing points of human supervision. The critical points of supervision are identified by discussions among professionals, patients and designers. The goal is to ensure that the algorithm remains on a machine learning development path that is medically effective, can be interrogated and is ethically responsible; it involves active partnership with patients and the public, such as meaningful public consultation and debate (101). Ultimately, such work should be validated by regulatory agencies or other supervisory authorities.
When something does go wrong in application of an AI technology, there should be accountability. Appropriate mechanisms should be adopted to ensure questioning by and redress for individuals and groups adversely affected by algorithmically informed decisions. This should include access to prompt, effective remedies and redress from governments and companies that deploy AI technologies for health care. Redress should include compensation, rehabilitation, restitution, sanctions where necessary and a guarantee of non repetition.
The use of AI technologies in medicine requires attribution of responsibility within complex systems in which responsibility is distributed among numerous agents. When medical decisions by AI technologies harm individuals, responsibility and accountability processes should clearly identify the relative roles of manufacturers and clinical users in the harm. This is an evolving challenge and remains unsettled in the laws of most countries. Institutions have not only legal liability but also a duty to assume responsibility for decisions made by the algorithms they use, even if it is not feasible to explain in detail how the algorithms produce their results.
To avoid diffusion of responsibility, in which “everybody’s problem becomes nobody’s responsibility”, a faultless responsibility model (“collective responsibility”), in which all the agents involved in the development and deployment of an AI technology are held responsible, can encourage all actors to act with integrity and minimize harm. In such a model, the actual intentions of each agent (or actor) or their ability to control an outcome are not considered.
Published by World Health Organization (WHO) in Key ethical principles for use of artificial intelligence for health, Jun 28, 2021