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Predictive AI as an Ethical Challenge to Know our Biological Time of Death?


April 9, 2019

10:20 - 10:30

_Stage A, Hall 1.2

Who wants to live forever? Well, most people want to live a Healthy life, but the not yet fully understood complexity of this astonishing system we call "human being" offers an extreme variety of diseases. Our Genes, the way we live our life, the world around us - and last but not least the development of and access to the smartest and individualized medicine possible are important factors. On the pathway to true precision (e)medicine, many important topics are widely discussed. Think AI-medicine, Smart Care, digital prevention, big data genomics - and so forth. Technology meets Medicine again - but this time it is a fundamental change, e.g. in the relation between the doctor and the patient, in transforming health systems, new data-driven business models, developing Smart Hospitals. And - back in the days - more or less mystical questions and ideas now become acessible for Research and maybe even Practise. "[...] patient-specific predictions of time to an event such as mortality [...]" (Avati et al.  arXiv:1806.08324, p. 1) - mortality prediction might be the holy grail of AI-based smart medicine. Of course the focus of current research is not so much about mortality prediction in the sense news media reflected it - but exaclty because such a provocative topic is more fiction than fact today, thinking about ethical issues that may arise is crucial NOW. Ethics is no descriptive discipline, it is (or should be) normative, dealing with questions such as "What should I do?", "Who is responsible for what?" - and of course "Is a technology A legitim just because it works?". Predictive AI through an Ethical lense - do we really want to know our biological time of death? Is this ethically right?



Prof. Stefan Heinemann, Professor of Business Ethics, FOM University of Applied Sciences, University Clinic Essen