Artificial intelligence: who’s liable?

Author: Dr Helen Hartley, Head of Underwriting Policy at Medical Protection

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Advancements in medical technology can bring huge benefits for patients and clinicians alike – but new approaches can also mean new risks. Dr Helen Hartley, Head of Underwriting Policy at Medical Protection, looks at where the liability lies for artificial intelligence.

For many, the concept of artificial intelligence conjures images from the darkest recesses of Hollywood imagination: robots running amok and rogue algorithms instigating World War 3.

In medicine, however, its benefits are impossible to ignore – only recently a study in Nature Medicine journal reported on an algorithm that can learn to read complex eye scans.1 When tested, it performed as well as two of the world’s leading retina specialists and did not miss a single urgent case.

But what has not been proven is the infallibility of artificial intelligence (AI). When a mistake does occur, where does the liability lie?



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