January 30, 2024

The Autonomous AI Physician: Medical Ethics and Legal Liability

Mindy Nunez Duffourc & Dominick S. Giovanniello

Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS,volume 58)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently capable of autonomously performing acts that constitute medical practice, including diagnosis, prognosis, therapeutic decision making, and image analysis, but should AI be considered a medical practitioner? Complicating this question is that fact that the ethical, regulatory, and legal regimes that govern medical practice and medical malpractice are not designed for nonhuman doctors. This chapter first suggests ethical parameters for the Autonomous AI Physician’s practice of medicine, focusing on the field of pathology. Second, we identify ethical and legal issues that arise from the Autonomous AI Physician’s practice of medicine, including safety, reliability, transparency, fairness, and accountability. Third, we discuss the potential application of various existing legal and regulatory regimes to govern the Autonomous AI Physician. Finally, we conclude that all stakeholders in the development and use of the Autonomous AI Physician have an obligation to ensure that AI is implemented in a safe and responsible way.

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