Artificial Intelligence: Digital Demon or Darling?

18th March, 2019:  6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

Artificial intelligence (AI) is being deployed to make our daily interactions easier and it’s seeping into our lives everywhere.  For example, at its most basic level, it separates the spam from our friends’ e-mails while, at the other end, predictive technology embedded in algorithms uses learning patterns at remarkable speed to direct our on-demand viewing.  Other examples include voice-to-text messages, “smart/intelligent” personal assistants such as Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa and even autonomous self-driving vehicles like Tesla.

Most of this technology is based on machine-learning software and real “artificially intelligent” systems, those that can simply learn on their own, are still a way off but improvement is rapid and we’re getting smarter.  In all of this, the basic foundation is using data analytics and “crunching” the vast amount of data collected.

This brings us to healthcare, the incredible volumes of data we currently track and how we can take advantage of AI applications.  Recent studies in health have identified benefits using AI to triage chest x-rays. Google has an AI system which can identify 50 different types of eye conditions as accurately as a doctor.  The applications seem limitless and, more often than not, they’re valuable for tedious, repetitious tasks where human fatigue can lead to error.

However, there’s a gap, or even a chasm, between public confidence and those who evangelise the benefits of Artificial Intelligence.  The gap is likely borne from high profile issues, exacerbated by media attention.  In 2016, a Microsoft chatbot, designed to engage in playful chat on Twitter, was targeted by users and, within 16 hours, was tweeting racial and misogynistic abuse.

So, is it right to pursue artificial intelligence in medicine when the human relationship is critically important?

With our incredible sponsors, the University of Melbourne, please come and join us for this intelligent discussion and debate on Monday March 18th with our experts:

  • John Stanway (moderator), CEO, The Royal Children’s Hospital;
  • Neville Board, Chief Digital Health Officer, State of Victoria; and
  • Tara Donnelly, interim Chief Digital Officer, NHS England.