by Mark Antony Rossi
The integration of technology into modern healthcare requires a strong measure of an institutional overhaul to provide much needed ethical consideration. A perfect example is outlined in the introduction of digital miniaturization. The most recent generation of pacemakers is vulnerable to hacking by malware attacks. A report researched by the Journal of American College of Cardiology reveals a real-world possibility of malicious interference by state actors for the purpose of assassination. A new term has been coined for brain implant manipulation called “brainjacking” where the patient is now under control to serve the nefarious ends of a distant digital hacker. Researchers at the Oxford University Functional Neurosurgery Group postulate brainjacking could bring the deliberate early onset of mental illness, emotional instability, and stroke.
Advanced technology is moving faster into our lives than humanity is willing to estimate its truest value to the larger healthcare horizon. Detractors of even cursory examination level charges of neo-Luddism without questioning the safety, security, or ethical implications of every mechanical enhancement pushed upon the world. But a higher scientific counsel reviewing technology is much needed to ensure the science involved is to the maximum benefit to humanity in the least intrusive manner. Good science at its core is meant to question any discovery or innovation to safeguard human existence. A scientific community that continues to neglect oversight forces Ethics into the province of Religion which often has the habit of turning faith into facts.
Artificial Intelligence realized in the practice of healthcare violates the doctor/patience relationship on several dimensions:
■ Nonhuman judgment utilized for medical diagnosis or treatment is a highly questionable practice risking the life of a human by over-reliance on a mechanical program meant to retrieve data and manufacture solutions.
■ Nonhuman presence in a human doctor specific insurance coverage is a fundamental betrayal of financial disbursement of medical services. Any monetary approximation of nonhuman service versus human is a statement of equal treatment in a situation decidedly less than ideal.
■ Nonhuman intelligence intervening in medical events is ultimately a careless exercise depending more on technological religion than the human history of regarding instinct, spontaneity, or simply the proven depth of medical experience.
If humanity is committed to a marriage of man and machine, we need to be brave enough to candidly investigate the advantages and disadvantages such a union imposes on the human species. Technology has improved the lives of people and there is little dispute that it remains a part of our modern existence. But the question remains will sentient thinking machines allow mechanical thinking machines to make critical decisions that may one day result in the loss of human freedom — intellectual or otherwise.
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