Resistance to Medical AI

3:30 pm on Wednesday, February 12, 2020
5:00 pm on Wednesday, February 12, 2020
School of Law, 15th Floor Faculty Lounge, 765 Commonwealth Ave.
Today, medical AI can perform with expert-level accuracy and deliver cost-effective healthcare at scale. IBM’s Watson diagnoses heart disease better than cardiologists. Chatbots dispense medical advice for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service in lieu of nurses. Smartphone apps detect skin cancer with expert accuracy, and algorithms identify eye diseases just as well as specialized physicians. Some forecast that medical AI will pervade 90% of hospitals and replace as much as 80% of what doctors currently do. Although the performance advantages and cost savings are clear, these benefits will only be realized if patients are willing to entrust their care to an AI provider.

In this Cyber Alliance talk, Questrom Assistant Marketing Prof. Chiara Longoni will discuss how people resist replacing human with AI healthcare providers. Across several studies, real and hypothetical choices, and a host of medical domains spanning prevention to diagnosis to treatment, we find that people are less likely to utilize AI than human providers. People are willing to pay more for a human than an equally good AI provider, and prefer human to AI providers when humans are objectively worse. The reason for this robust resistance to medical AI is not the (erroneous) belief that AI provides inferior care. Nor is it that people think that AI is more costly, less convenient, or less informative. Rather, the underlying mechanism is a belief we term “uniqueness neglect.” Uniqueness neglect is a concern that AI will not be able to deal with a person’s idiosyncratic characteristics and circumstances. People view themselves as unique and different from others, and this extends to their health. Because people view medical care delivered by AI providers as standardized, AI is well suited for other people, but inadequate to account for their unique circumstances. It is because of the mismatch between these two beliefs — that a person is unique and that AI treats everyone in the same way — that people resist AI medical providers.

There will be time for casual conversation and light refreshments before and after the presentation. Please RSVP through Eventbrite at this link: