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On GPS: How AI will impact the future of medicine
01:47 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Most Americans feel “significant discomfort” about the idea of their doctors using artificial intelligence to help manage their health, a new survey finds, but they generally acknowledge AI’s potential to reduce medical mistakes and to eliminate some of the problems doctors may have with racial bias.

Artificial intelligence is the theory and development of computer programs that can solve problems and perform tasks that typically would require human intelligence – machines that can essentially learn like humans can, based on the input they have been given.

You probably already use technology that relies on artificial intelligence every day without even thinking about it.

When you shop on Amazon, for example, it’s artificial intelligence that guides the site to recommend cat toys if you’ve previously shopped for cat food. AI can also help unlock your iPhone, drive your Tesla, answer customer service questions at your bank and recommend the next show to binge on Netflix.

Americans may like these individualized services, but when it comes to AI and their health care, it may be a digital step too far for many.

Sixty percent of Americans who took part in a new survey by the Pew Research Center said that they would be uncomfortable with a health care provider who relied on artificial intelligence to do something like diagnose their disease or recommend a treatment. About 57% said that the use of artificial intelligence would make their relationship with their provider worse.

Only 38% felt that using AI to diagnose disease or recommend treatment would lead to better health outcomes; 33% said it would lead to worse outcomes; and 27% said it wouldn’t make much of a difference.

About 6 in 10 Americans said they would not want AI-driven robots to perform parts of their surgery. Nor do they like the idea of a chatbot working with them on their mental health; 79% said they wouldn’t want AI involved in their mental health care. There’s also concern about security when it comes to AI and health care records.

“Awareness of AI is still developing. So one dynamic here is, the public isn’t deeply familiar with all of these technologies. And so when you consider their use in a context that’s very personal, something that’s kind of high-stakes as your own health, I think that the notion that folks are still getting to know this technology is certainly one dynamic at play,” said Alec Tyson, Pew’s associate director of research.