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WHO Warns of Patient Risks from Untested AI Tools, Calls for Caution

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WHO Urges Consistent Caution with AI Tools to Prevent Patient Harm

The World Health Organization (WHO) raises concerns over the inconsistent application of cautionary measures for AI-powered large language model (LLM) tools. Precipitous adoption without proper testing could lead to errors, harm patients, erode trust in AI, and delay long-term benefits.

Addressing the Need for Evidence and Safety Measures

WHO proposes the need to address concerns and gather clear evidence of benefits before widespread use of AI tools in routine healthcare and medicine. While supporting the use of technology, WHO emphasizes the importance of vigilance, particularly with rapidly expanding platforms like ChatGPT, Bard, and BERT.

Potential Risks of Incorrect Information and Disinformation

New AI tools can generate responses that appear authoritative but may contain serious errors, posing risks to health-related decisions. Moreover, these tools can be misused to spread convincing disinformation, making it challenging for the public to distinguish reliable health content.

Careful Examination of Risks for Safe AI Utilization

WHO emphasizes the need for careful examination of risks when using AI tools to improve access to health information, decision-support, and diagnostic capacity. Patient safety and protection should be prioritized, especially in under-resourced settings, to enhance health outcomes and reduce inequity.

Ethical Principles and Appropriate Governance

WHO recommends policymakers ensure patient safety and protection while technology firms commercialize LLM tools. Upholding ethical principles and implementing appropriate governance mechanisms are vital.

In 2021, WHO published “Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence for Health” as a guideline for responsible AI use.
Advancing AI Ethical Frameworks on a Global Scale

Advancing AI Ethical Frameworks on a Global Scale

WHO’s commitment to improving human health through technology underscores the importance of global agreements on AI ethics. Their publication on the ethics of AI in health serves as a foundation for promoting responsible AI governance and ensuring the welfare of individuals worldwide.


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