What Facebook’s public scrutiny can teach us about artificial intelligence in health care

During Monday’s grilling of Mark Zuckerberg in a Senate hearing that lasted for more than three hours, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin asked the Facebook founder and CEO if he would be comfortable sharing the name of the hotel he was staying at in Washington. The question caught Zuckerberg off guard.

“Umm. … Uh. No,” Zuckerberg eventually answered, after thinking about it for some time.

As this question illustrates, the recent firestorm over Facebook’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal is less about the data breach and more about the right to privacy and the limits to that right. It is also highlighting the ethical conflicts of implementing artificial intelligence without thoroughly considering societal norms. This scandal has some important bioethics lessons for health care leaders who are building machine learning and artificial intelligence models for clinical decision-making.

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