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AI and Healthcare: Impacts, Inequalities, and Policy Imperatives

Infographic on "Global Inequalities, Healthcare and Artificial Intelligence" Leslie Walker, 2023

The mass proliferation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has uncovered an interesting paradox: although emerging technologies have contributed many positive social benefits, they tend to disproportionately benefit high-resource regions. Most notably, developed countries tend to reap most of the benefits of AI, whereas developing countries tend to disproportionately bear the risks; thus exacerbating global inequalities. Although this has been observed across many industries, the impact to global health is particularly poignant.


Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health (CERH) presented an opportunity to discuss these subjects of interest during our latest virtual lecture. On Tuesday, March 5th, 2024 from 12-1 PM via Zoom, Leslie Walker spoke on the topic “AI, Healthcare, and... Inequality?” In particular, she focused on a macro-policy lens followed by what individuals can do to better protect themselves and their families from the perils of AI.


Key research outcomes included the better management of power imbalances, particularly related to “Big Tech”, a coordinated approach between countries, and improved patient empowerment.


On an individual level she suggests:


  1. Talking about uncomfortable topics with your peers to develop strong critical thinking skills.

  2. Understanding power imbalances and the associated motivations and incentives, (especially in regions like North America where corporations are given tremendous power and influence).

  3. Demanding more transparency, trust, and explainability of digital tools through policy.


This presentation was informed by Leslie Walker’s extensive research into the subject area. She is currently completing her Doctorate of Social and Economic Sciences at the Vienna University of Technology in Austria to supplement her previous work experience in Management Consulting with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) where she worked on large digital implementation projects globally.


Leslie was joined by panelists Stefan Salcher, Geneva Neal, and Jay McFarlan. Stefan Salcher is a serial entrepreneur coming from a computer engineering and media science background. He is the CEO, Druckster / Founder of Young Entrepreneurs of Vienna.


Geneva Neal is a Goderich native with a mathematics and computer science background currently working for a prominent nonprofit organization which helps scale science and technology-based companies. She is currently working as a Senior Data Analyst, Creative Destruction Lab - University of Toronto. 


Jay McFarlan is AI enthusiast and parent. He is the Gateway CERH Research Chair of Rural Nutrition and Exercise.



If you would like to register for this free, monthly lecture series, or explore our past lecture, check out our lecture series page: https://www.gatewayruralhealth.ca/lectureseries


A recording of the full lecture “Artificial Intelligence, Healthcare, and... Inequality?” is found on Gateway CERH YouTube Channel.



This particular lecture is an expansion on the connection between health and artificial intelligence that premiered in 2023. If interested, watch the Lecture Series No.21 all about the "Societal Implications of Artificial Intelligence".



Anyone can have access to the full library of Gateway CERH lectures found on our website. As well, sign up to receive our newsletter and be the first to know all about upcoming lecture topics and the speakers: https://www.gatewayruralhealth.ca/lectureseries


Gateway CERH looks forward to seeing you at the next lecture on April 9th, 2024!

 

The views expressed in this lecture may not necessarily reflect Gateway’s views or opinions, but we believe in providing a platform for a range of perspectives and thoughtful discussion. 

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