New Report Highlights Artificial Intelligence and COVID-19

May 24, 2021

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) recently released a report titled “Artificial Intelligence and COVID-19: Applications and Impact Assessment.” The report provides an overview of how artificial intelligence (AI) has been used during the COVID-19 pandemic and identifies sorting and surveillance as two specific areas where AI has been used to aid marginalized and vulnerable populations. The report identifies different uses of AI during the pandemic in hopes of informing public policy decisions that will impact both the current pandemic and potential future health crises.
 
The report is separated into three sections:
  1. A survey of the different AI applications used or suggested in the fight against COVID-19 and a classification of those applications according to their field of use.
  2. A survey of the existing ethical frameworks relevant to medical AI-based applications and the overarching human rights principles relevant to the pandemic.
  3. AI applications that raise significant ethical and human rights concerns, especially those with large and disproportionate impacts on marginalized and vulnerable populations. 
Additionally, the report provides recommendations on how best to move forward with a new proposed research agenda, which is divided into three sections:
  1. Technical aspects of the applications addressed, specifically with regard to the algorithms and the data used to develop them.
  2. Societal context in which the applications are developed and used.
  3. Specific human rights and ethical issues raised by the applications. 
The report pays particular attention to how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated issues that have affected poor disenfranchised communities, namely lack of access to quality healthcare. It addresses how AI can, if developed correctly and with intention, be used to mitigate bias and increase fairness among the most vulnerable populations. The report’s findings are intended to inform a future roadmap focused on developing and implementing ethical AI in medical applications.
 
“The findings are intended to help raise awareness among populations impacted by the application of AI-based technologies in the current pandemic and in the future, to inform policy makers and health professionals who determine whether and how these tools are deployed during the current pandemic, during future public health crises, and in general, and to broaden the scope of understanding among developers and researchers in the AI community of the implications of the use of these AI-based technologies.”
 
To read the full report visit: https://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/2021-05/AIandCOVID19_2021_FINAL.pdf?utm_source=STAT+Newsletters&utm_campaign=1c74fa12cf-health_tech_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8cab1d7961-1c74fa12cf-151976733.
 

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