Artificial intelligence has made its way into the lives of average consumers. Even smartphones have some form of artificial intelligence baked into them. We are slowly, but surely becoming dependent on artificial intelligence.
We’ve long relied on technology to help us become more efficient in our craft. Sculptors can now use 3D-printing technology, architects use augmented reality to get a real-time preview of their project, and real estate agents use virtual reality to enable prospective buyers to experience a virtual tour of the home they intend to buy.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this will eventually extend to other fields of practice. One of those fields is that of the medical field.
Artificial intelligence can make doctors more efficient by diagnosing a patient quickly without any loss of accuracy, it can even interpret results rapidly. But despite all these benefits, we shouldn’t forget that artificial intelligence is but another piece of technology. And like all pieces of technology, there will always be a risk of failure.
Now, the question at hand is whether artificial intelligence can be sued when it causes injury or death to a patient. How is justice meted in such a scenario, and who is liable for damages?
No Laws, No Precedents On Handling AI.
As of this writing, there are no known laws or precedents that govern the use of artificial intelligence as the technology has yet to be implemented into the medical field. However, this does not mean that when an injury is caused by the failure of artificial intelligence, that there are no liabilities to be determined.
Artificial intelligence should be treated as a product rather than its own person, given the fact that it must be developed by someone. And, much like any product, when a manufacturer creates a faulty product, whether it be faulty by design, by manufacture, or by a failure to disclose its risks, that same manufacturer could be held liable.
The quick answer to the question posed above is that no, artificial intelligence cannot be held liable for medical malpractice. There are many things that can go wrong, such as a failure to monitor a patient or the misdiagnosis of a patient, but the fact of the matter is that artificial intelligence should only be perceived as a tool to make the caregiver more efficient.
In the field of Medicine, doctors still have the primary responsibility of ensuring that their patients are well taken care of. They are not absolved of this responsibility by making use of artificial intelligence to do their tasks for them.
Artificial intelligence cannot be sued for medical malpractice because it is not licensed to practice medicine to begin with.
You can, however, sue the manufacturer for creating a faulty product, especially if the product’s failure to function properly was the direct cause of your injury. And while it’s true that we’re only brushing against the tip of the iceberg in this discussion, it should be treated as an outline from which a clearer, more specific answer can be derived.