Artificial Intelligence Can Entrench Disparities—Here’s What We Must Do

Winn, Robert; Ferryman, Kadija

There is growing excitement for ubiquitous healthcare, where tiny wireless sensors are able to constantly monitor, collect and transmit health data.3 And while IBM’s Watson Health has faced some challenges with implementation, there is continued optimism and investment that combining big data with advanced techniques such as machine learning will lead to improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

As excitement for AI in medicine abounds, there is, at the same time, a bleak picture of health disparities in the U.S., particularly in cancer.

Racial minorities continue to have disproportionately higher incidence and mortality rates for multiple cancers, including breast, kidney, and prostate cancer.4

How can we bring together the excitement for the possibilities of AI in medicine with the sobering reality of stubborn health disparities that remain despite technological advances?