AI Surveillance during Pandemics: Ethical Implementation Imperatives

Hastings Center Report 50 (3):18-21 (2020)
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Artificial intelligence surveillance can be used to diagnose individual cases, track the spread of Covid‐19, and help provide care. The use of AI for surveillance purposes (such as detecting new Covid‐19 cases and gathering data from healthy and ill individuals) in a pandemic raises multiple concerns ranging from privacy to discrimination to access to care. Luckily, there exist several frameworks that can help guide stakeholders, especially physicians but also AI developers and public health officials, as they navigate these treacherous shoals. While these frameworks were not explicitly designed for AI surveillance during a pandemic, they can be adapted to help address concerns regarding privacy, human rights, and due process and equality. In a time where the rapid implementation of all tools available is critical to ending a pandemic, physicians, public health officials, and technology companies should understand the criteria for the ethical implementation of AI surveillance.



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