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Artificial Intelligence in the end of life space.

Suggesting artificial intelligence (AI) be used in the end of life space, might make the heart race, or cause you to recoil in horror.

Do we really want artificial intelligence in there?

A tweet by Dying2Learn about this triggered frightening images: praying mantis like robots leaning in to ask Mrs Henderson if she wants a back rub and while we’re at it, would she like to be measured up for her coffin.

But if by using algorithms this means the right names are added to a computer generated list for a human being to start a conversation. Phew! Actually, that could be a really good thing.

An experiment in end-of-life care: Tapping AI’s cold calculus to nudge the most human of conversations, published in Stat News explore this. The link is at:

In the example given, Dr Wang finds a name on the list of people to start the conversation with that she wasn’t expecting to see.

Sounds good – if it enables more of humanity to act in a human way. (Bearing in mind that some people, sadly, even in the end-of-life space are surprisingly inhuman.)

The role of technology in medicine has been talked about a lot lately, as the telemedical consultation is utilised during Covid-19. The pandemic has exposed where the weaknesses lie, in the moment when human touch, voice, interaction – even just visage – goes missing. Lots has been written on this.

But a fine piece of writing on this subject comes from Dr Marcin Chwistek, Chief, Supportive Oncology and Palliative Care Program, at the USA’s Fox Chase Cancer Center.  Called “Are you wearing your white coat?” – a question Dr Chwistek was actually asked in a teleconference – it can be found at:

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2767746?utm_source=undefined&utm_campaign=content-shareicons&utm_content=article_engagement&utm_medium=social&utm_term=070820#.XwUI0Pi0WGN.email

From reviews in these two different head spaces, analysing the dangers of a consulting room that doesn’t speak to the human, and then linking that to connections seen by the algorithm before the human even looks at their list, let’s hope we get something good.

Thanks for Dying to Learn for sharing this idea.

For a broader review of where Covd-19 will take us next, go to:

To learn more about a good death, go to:

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