New Zealand needs to prepare for the arrival of medical “AI”
Robotic doctors and other artificial intelligence tools are coming to New Zealand’s healthcare system and we need to be ready for the ethical and legal challenges they will bring, warns a University of Canterbury (UC) PhD student.
Current New Zealand laws are not equipped to deal with the realities of machines performing medical tasks, Boniface says.
“At the moment AI in the medical sector is limited to things like diagnostic tools and providing information on drug interactions. It’s not as common or widespread here as it is in Asia and Europe, but it’s something that’s definitely coming, and I think we need to make changes before it arrives to make sure our health system, and legal system, is prepared.”
He believes there should be a Law Commission inquiry into AI in general, and issues of informed consent, patient privacy, and medical negligence, in particular.
It’s important to consider who will be held responsible when AI tools are used in a medical procedure that goes wrong, Boniface says. This is something he explores in a recent New Zealand Law Journal article, Medical negligence in the age of artificial intelligence  NZLJ 136.