Negative Effects of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

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Negative Effects of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

This essay will examine the potential negative effects of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare. It will discuss concerns such as ethical dilemmas, privacy issues, potential job displacement, and the risk of errors or biases in AI systems. You can also find more related free essay samples at PapersOwl about Artificial Intelligence.

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How it works

To put this as simply as possible, artificial intelligence is what we call the game changer or the face of the next decade. Let’s take a look at these terms individually before we go too far in depth. Artificial is anything made by humans that is not natural. Intelligence is the ability to understand think and learn. Artificial intelligence is the simulation of human intelligence, used by a computer or a machine to mimic human behaviors and create systems that function independently.

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Philosophical Underpinnings

“So-called weak AI grants the fact (or prospect) of intelligent-acting machines; strong AI says these actions can be real intelligence. Strong AI says some artificial computation is thought” (Hauser). The term artificial intelligence came to life in 1956 but is only continuing to improve over the decades. Today is the year 2020, and when I say artificial intelligence you may think of self-driving cars, or when you play chess against your computer. As human beings, our intelligence is the one distinct feature that separates us from everyone else in the world. We have to ask the question to what extent can that feature separate us from an intelligent machine. The answer may be that we can speak and machines can’t, or does it go further than that? If you have ever asked your amazon Alexa to order your food or asked Siri how the weather was outside so you know what to wear, you’re interacting with artificial intelligence without even realizing it.

AI in Daily Life

For the last few years, the hype of artificial intelligence has made governments spend tons of money on these human-like machines. “By performing simple fixed tasks, AI is replacing human workers for certain jobs as the single most powerful force of our time” (Ergen, pg. 3). The sky is the limit in the healthcare industry when it comes to artificial intelligence, whether it’s enhancing diagnosis, speeding up the process, or protecting the security of patients.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

When we talk artificial intelligence within healthcare we are going to see these machines making difficult decisions we usually trust our doctors with. AI applications can provide medicine, x-ray readings, database numbers, and so much more. Something I found really intriguing is something I experience every day. I have an app where I use a personal health care assistant that helps me workout and reminds me to eat healthier. I also have reminders on my phone that remind me to take my medicine, so is that artificial intelligence reminding me? These machines act as our life coaches, especially during this Coronavirus pandemic when we may need them the most because it’s all we have. “Rather than robotics, AI in health care mainly refers to doctors and hospitals accessing vast data sets of potentially life-saving information” (Kennedy, 2018). Artificial intelligence allows us to take a much deeper look into patients that the human brain wouldn’t be able to do at the same pace as a computer. For example, pulling up thousands of patient’s data and comparing them to other patients with similar symptoms to see what worked and what didn’t work. “With top hospitals across the nation adopting AI with the aim of improving care, Agus may be right. In our increasingly wired world, artificial intelligence and healthcare are becoming forever linked” (Kennedy, 2018). In the healthcare industry, the biggest theme we see is trust. There is a lot of information out there that tells us quite a few patients don’t have trust in a computer to make life or death decisions for them. With benefits, there always comes a few risks that follow. A few risks would be the privacy of patients, and the responsibility for their safety. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has made a commitment to addressing ethics, governance, and regulation of artificial intelligence for health” (Goodman, pg.1).

“AI can be sliced and diced in many different ways, but the best way to understand its potential use in healthcare is to break down its applications into three separate categories: algorithmic solutions, visual tools, and medical practice” (Pearl, 2018). Algorithmic solutions are the most commonly used tool in the healthcare sector. A good example of this category would be cancer treatment for patients. Using algorithms we can look at data such as the patient’s age or their genetics and find the best chemotherapy for that patient. The next category is visual tools and this is effective because even the best human eye can fail to see something special sometimes. “Visual pattern recognition software, which can store and compare tens of thousands of images while using the same heuristic techniques as humans, is estimated to be 5% to 10% more accurate than the average physician” (Pearl, 2018). As artificial intelligence becomes more advanced they will continue to help in ways such as radiology, looking deeper into MRI and CAT scans, maybe detecting something that the doctor could have missed. Medical practice being the last category is one of the most interesting to me. Artificial intelligence branches off into something called natural language processing, which allows computers to understand and interpret humans. Natural language processing can review thousands of medical records and come up with the best steps for evaluating and treating patients. This isn’t to say physicians can’t do this but artificial intelligence speeds up the process saving hundreds of more lives every year. “In reality, the biggest difference between physicians is not their level of intelligence, but (a) how they approach patient problems and (b) the health systems that support them. And because ‘a’ and ‘b’ combine to create wide variations in clinical outcomes nationwide, machine learning offers great hope for the future” (Pearl, 2018).

The History and Progression of Artificial Intelligence

Let’s time travel back to the years 1950-2000. 1950 is when this all started when John McCarthy discovered the exercise of artificial intelligence. Moving into 1974 when computers became faster and affordable across the country. 1980 is said to be the year of artificial intelligence because fundings were finally starting to increase. To finally the year 2000, after multiple failed attempts they say the establishment of AI was finally achieved. I want to specifically focus on 1970. Artificial intelligence in the 1970s faced hard challenges, such as little to no government support for AI research, up until about 1980. Once funding increased we started seeing creative media such as films about artificial intelligence. I’m sure we all have a Roomba going around our house. I saw many tv commercials for this piece of artificial intelligence and it caught my eye so much I had to go out and buy myself one. If artificial intelligence is already here why haven’t we seen flying cars or robots walking around?

The Current State and Future Prospects of AI

Only recently has the hype of artificial intelligence starts to unify with reality. “Today, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is another, however, strong technological wave that is flattening the world by providing the ability for a machine to perform cognitive functions, such as perceiving, reasoning, learning, and interacting” (Ergen, 2019). Today as we see patients lying in hospital beds they long for that human to human interaction. All we can do in the present is to let technology advance itself while we try our best to work with it and not against it. In the healthcare industry, we see doctors in full control of any artificial intelligence, for example using various tools and diagnoses. The current decade has been super important for AI and it’s continued innovation. Artificial intelligence is currently advancing at an accelerated rate and we’re just trying our best to keep up. According to David B. Agus, MD, AI is already here and it’s fundamentally changing a lot of things, which is leaving everyone startled.

Challenges and Controversies Surrounding AI

There are many details and challenges that need to be put forth before can talk about the future of artificial intelligence. If technology is going to improve the quality and lower costs in healthcare, some healthcare jobs will eventually disappear. A good example of this outside of healthcare would be how uber and lyft took over taxi cabs. We will soon start to see machines taking over humans day to day jobs. “It’s impossible to read about the future of healthcare without encountering two pixilated vowels that, together, represent hopes and fears” (Pearl, 2018). I have done a lot of research and many articles ask the same question; can AI cure cancer? This is one of the hottest debates within artificial intelligence and healthcare. If our own trusted, well-educated physicians, can’t cure cancer then why should we believe a machine can come into the world and cure all of our problems. If this is a question you are asking yourself then you should wait and behold the future in front of us.

AI and Privacy Concerns

“Alan Turing suggested that if computers showed human-level conversational abilities we should, by that, be amply assured of their intelligence” (Hauser). This test is basically an imitation game that the AI has to pass in order to be termed effective. The Turing test involves a chat between a human and a computer. If the human doesn’t recognize he/she is chatting with a computer than that AI passes the test. We can look to facial and voice recognition to answer the question artificial intelligence holds on society. “Facial recognition is the ability of computer systems to identify and us by our faces. Voice recognition is the ability of computer systems to do the same for our words” (Kugler, 2019). Both pieces of technology bring up debate about humans’ privacy and personal rights. We are being watched by the government every day whether we want to believe it or not. They can see what we search on google and they can hear the questions we ask Siri or Alexa. Facial recognition may seem like a quicker way to get through the airport but in reality, it’s just another way to collect data on a human. As wonderful as artificial intelligence sounds in healthcare we must think about the risks we are up against as well. “For example, someone who passes by Times Square on their way to work will likely show up in tourist photos that are posted on social media, and facial recognition could easily piece together their route to work and their schedule using the photos and the times or dates they were taken” (Kugler, 2019).

Artificial Intelligence in Pop Culture: A Black Mirror Analysis

When we talk about artificial intelligence and its role it holds on society I want to focus on three Black Mirror episodes. In the episode Be Right Back, Marsha’s boyfriend Ash was able to come back as a robot. Marsha paid money to have her life seem normal again, but after a while, she realized the simulation was similar to Ash but it could never really be him. My point here is that artificial may be beneficial in healthcare but it’s dangerous to some people in society. If we use it in the same way Marsha did, we are allowing these robots to have influence over our own decisions. The next episode, White Christmas, is a digital copy of a person’s consciousness or what they called a cookie. It takes care of the little things so we can focus on more important things, which sounds wonderful doesn’t it? This cookie created doesn’t know that it’s not a real person, and it can refuse to work for the person whose brain it was taken from. There was a crime committed within the episode that left not only the human punished but the cookie as well. While watching this episode I was a little shocked because if the cookie is only a simulation, should it actually be punished? The whole point of this ‘cookie’ is to allow humans to play with other people’s lives. This is a negative impact on society and is something that needs to be thought about before advancing artificial intelligence. The last episode I want to talk about is called San Junipero, where it lets us take a look at a digital afterlife. In this episode, there is a character Yorkie and she has been paralyzed her whole life, but with artificial intelligence, she is given a second chance at life. The one thing I didn’t like about this episode is that the other main character, Kelly wanted to give up her own perfect life, just to join Yorkie in what they believe is a life after death, in San Junipero, but in reality, it’s only a simulation. There are so many benefits from artificial intelligence as we saw earlier in the healthcare industry but it also has the ability to turn our lives upside down at the snap of a finger. I know you may be thinking these are only shows, but with every advancement comes consequences.


The sky may be the limit for artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry but it may go past its limits in the way it tries to reshape society. From 1950 to 2020 we are currently seeing changes within AI, but all we’re trying to do is keep up with it. Here in the United States, we are in a constant battle with machines just so they won’t take over our job within the next decade. Artificial intelligence is one of the most interesting topics I’ve ever covered and to say I don’t see it benefiting every industry soon is slim to none. I believe we all have the newest technology, such as the newest iPhones, or the newest apple watches, and it’s because we’re just trying to keep up with the advancements of technology. I suggest if you haven’t, do some research on artificial intelligence or even take a look at a few black mirror episodes. Soon enough artificial intelligence is going to start becoming a little less artificial and a little more intelligent.  

Works Cited

  1. Russell, S., & Norvig, P. (2020). “Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach” (4th ed.). Pearson.
  2. World Health Organization (2019). “Recommendations on Digital Interventions for Health System Strengthening”. WHO.
  3. Kugler, L. (2019). “The Ethics of AI: How to Stop Your Robot Cooking Your Cat”. The Association for Computing Machinery.
  4. Kennedy, P. (2018). “The Future of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare”. Journal of Healthcare Communications, 3(4).
  5. Goodman, K. W., & Beamish, A. J. (2018). “Ethical Aspects of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science in Healthcare”. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 17(1), 95-103.
  6. Ergen, E. (2019). “The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Revolutionizing Healthcare”. Journal of Health & Medical Informatics, 10(4).
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Negative Effects of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare. (2023, Jun 17). Retrieved from