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Medical AI: is trust really the issue?


I discuss an influential argument put forward by Hatherley in the Journal of Medical Ethics. Drawing on influential philosophical accounts of interpersonal trust, Hatherley claims that medical artificial intelligence is capable of being reliable, but not trustworthy. Furthermore, Hatherley argues that trust generates moral obligations on behalf of the trustee. For instance, when a patient trusts a clinician, it generates certain moral obligations on behalf of the clinician for her to do what she is entrusted to do. I make three objections to Hatherley’s claims: (1) At least one philosophical account of interagent trust implies that medical AI is capable of being trustworthy. (2) Even if this account should ultimately be rejected, it does not matter much because what we care mostly about is that medical AI is reliable. (3) It is false that trust in itself generates moral obligations on behalf of the trustee.

  • Ethics- Medical

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  • Original research
    Joshua James Hatherley

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