A.I. Pulse Check On Inherent Healthcare Bias In $188 Billion Market

By Taylor Durham

  • A.I. healthcare programs risks socioeconomic and racial bias
  • By 2030, the A.I. in healthcare market is estimated to reach $188B

The healthcare industry continues to incorporate artificial intelligence into many of its platforms, and early indicators reveal the technology outperforms and offers more accurate diagnoses than doctors. Healthcare has always struggled with income and race based inequities rooted in various forms of bias. A.I. seems like a sensible investment for the facilitation of most day-to-day healthcare activities, so should minorities approach the subject matter with apprehension?

Why This Matters: A.I. is an attractive proposal but with any technology, it comes with a list of growing concerns. The artificial intelligence in healthcare market was valued at at $11 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $188 billion by 2030. This sector is heavily reliant on large complex data sets, and medicine has long struggled to include minorities in research, leading to erroneous conclusions.

One of the main risks with A.I. in this industry is that these biases become automated and invisible, disproportionately affecting black patients who have different risk factors for and manifestations of disease, according to the New York Times. A.I. needs to be directed on how to interpret and utilize data to establish a result. If the data being presented doesn’t include enough information for a particular background (i.e. Black, Latinx), then the result isn’t as reliable.

Some facial recognition systems would only confuse light-skin men 0.8% of the time and would have an error rate of 34.7% for dark-skin women, MIT researchers found. Consider the impact this could have if one were being diagnosed for illnesses such as melanoma?

Situational Awareness: In the financial sector, adoption of A.I. is proving to be detrimental to minorities and women for securing loans and mortgage. Banks want to apply A.I. to sort through applicants, but it may end up only causing further harm. The technology can prevent opportunities such as home ownership or small business growth, pushing minorities further from economic freedom and stability. Financial giants such as Bank of America (BAC +0.99%) are taking steps to make sure A.I. is both transparent and fair.

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