WHO issues first global report on AI in health and guiding principles for its design and use

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report titled, Ethics and governance of artificial intelligence for health. In the report, the WHO highlighted that artificial intelligence (AI) holds great promise for improving the delivery of healthcare and medicine across the globe, but only if ethics and human rights are put at the center of its design, deployment, and use. The report cautions against overestimating the benefits of AI for health, especially when this occurs at the expense of core investment and strategies that are required to achieve universal health coverage. It also points out challenges and risks that AI brings to healthcare, such as unethical collection and use of health data, biases encoded in algorithms, and risks of AI to patient safety, cybersecurity, and the environment. 

To minimize the risks and maximize the opportunities of AI for health, the WHO put forward the following six principles as the basis for AI regulation and governance:

  1. Promoting human autonomy.
  2. Promoting human wellbeing and safety and the public interest.
  3. Ensuring transparency, explainability and intelligibility.
  4. Fostering responsibility and accountability.
  5. Ensuring inclusiveness and equity. 
  6. Promoting AI that is responsive and sustainable.