1 Protect autonomy
Adoption of AI can lead to situations in which decision making could be or is in fact transferred to machines. The principle of autonomy requires that any extension of machine autonomy not undermine human autonomy. In the context of health care, this means that humans should remain in full control of health care systems and medical decisions. AI systems should be designed demonstrably and systematically to conform to the principles and human rights with which they cohere; more specifically, they should be designed to assist humans, whether they be medical providers or patients, in making informed decisions. Human oversight may depend on the risks associated with an AI system but should always be meaningful and should thus include effective, transparent monitoring of human values and moral considerations. In practice, this could include deciding whether to use an AI system for a particular health care decision, to vary the level of human discretion and decision making and to develop AI technologies that can rank decisions when appropriate (as opposed to a single decision). These practicescan ensure a clinician can override decisions made by AI systems and that machine autonomy can be restricted and made “intrinsically reversible”.
Respect for autonomy also entails the related duties to protect privacy and confidentiality and to ensure informed, valid consent by adopting appropriate legal frameworks for data protection. These should be fully supported and enforced by governments and respected by companies and their system designers, programmers, database creators and others. AI technologies should not be used for experimentation or manipulation of humans in a health care system without valid informed consent. The use of machine learning algorithms in diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plans should be incorporated into the process for informed and valid consent. Essential services should not be circumscribed or denied if an individual withholds consent and that additional incentives or inducements should not be offered by either a government or private parties to individuals who do provide consent.
Data protection laws are one means of safeguarding individual rights and place obligations on data controllers and data processors. Such laws are necessary to protect privacy and the confidentiality of patient data and to establish patients’ control over their data. Construed broadly, data protection laws should also make it easy for people to access their own health data and to move or share those data as they like. Because machine learning requires large amounts of data – big data – these laws are increasingly important.
Published by World Health Organization (WHO) in Key ethical principles for use of artificial intelligence for health, Jun 28, 2021