May 17, 2018

The biggest ethical issues for AI in medicine

A doctor's examination room. Photo: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

Before you get too excited about those artificial intelligence doctors we’ll all have someday, you should read this briefing note from the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, a London-based group that ponders the tough ethical questions about medicine.

What they're saying: The Council has a pretty handy guide to the things that can go wrong with AI. For example, it’s not always reliable. (In one clinical trial, an app incorrectly told doctors to send home patients with asthma.)

  • It can’t always explain its decisions, as Axios’ Ina Fried wrote about here.
  • It can be biased, if there are biases in the data used to train them.
  • Patients could get isolated if they’re dealing with AI all the time instead of people.
  • It will have to be super strict about data privacy and security.
  • It could be used for bad things, like surveillance.

The bottom line: It’s clearly meant to be a glass-half-empty look at AI, but the point is that we should all think it through a bit and not just embrace AI because it’s cool.

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Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

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Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Frequent hand washing can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known preventative for COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
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