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News > World

WHO: Safe and Ethical Use of AI Tools for Health

  • World Health Organization sign. May. 17, 2023.

    World Health Organization sign. May. 17, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@madhyamam_eng

Published 17 May 2023

"...the hasty assimilation of unverified systems may result in inadvertent errors..."

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a communiqué emphasizing the need for a thorough investigation into the potential hazards associated with large language model tools LLMs produced by artificial intelligence (AI).


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The usage of LLMs has been observed as a potential means to facilitate better accessibility to health-related information, serve as an aid in decision-making processes, and augment diagnostic capabilities, particularly in settings that are lacking in resources.

WHO has issued a cautionary statement emphasizing the importance of consistent application of precautionary measures towards the use of LLMs, as the customary prudence exercised for emerging technologies are not being applied.

According to WHO, the hasty assimilation of unverified systems may result in inadvertent errors committed by healthcare professionals, inflict harm on patients, and diminish confidence in the application of artificial intelligence; jeopardizing the potential long-term advantages of these technologies.

Consequently, the World Health Organization has made a plea for stringent supervision of LLMs with the aim of guaranteeing their secure, efficacious, and ethical application.

WHO stated that as technology firms endeavor to introduce LLMs to the market, policymakers are tasked with ensuring the safeguarding of patient safety and protection.

WHO has said that before LLMs can be adopted on a widespread basis in routine healthcare and medicine, conclusive evidence of their potential benefits must be carefully evaluated. This includes examination of their viability for use by individuals, care providers, as well as health system administrators and policy-makers.

In June 2021, WHO released a guidance on the ethics and governance of Artificial Intelligence in the context of healthcare, highlighting the crucial significance of adhering to ethical standards and appropriate management practices while devising, constructing, and launching AI applications for the healthcare sector.

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