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  • Lena Mäder

The promise of threat: How AI allows big-tech companies to derail privacy rights in public health

Digitalization and modern technologies slowly but surely start to be major contributors to the changing landscapes of healthcare. Amongst these new technologies is the use of artificial intelligence and data to improve the quality and efficiency of modern treatments. Studies in 2016 have shown that artificial intelligence allowed medical professionals to significantly decrease their bureaucratic workload and give them an extended amount of time on the actual treatment of patients.

The development of the SARS-CoV vaccines was accelerated by data-driven diagnostics and scalable data analytics provided by artificial intelligence.

Subsequently, the recent successful developments in the healthcare sector can largely be contributed to the extended use of modern available technologies.

That is unlikely to change, with artificial intelligence being seen as a solution for further challenges within the industry of medicine and research. The health secretary of the United Kingdom Sajid Javid has launched initiatives to invest in artificial technology in order to decrease racial bias in the quality of treatment in the healthcare sector.

However, to tackle these challenges it would require engaging with big-tech companies to integrate big data and the respective technology. This large piece of business is attracting service providers to get into the healthcare system. Amazon has started a program in which surgical procedures will be accompanied by their cloud services and the voice control panel ‘Alexa’.

With Jeff Bezos launching the AWS healthcare incubator it shows the clear interest in privatizing future health care services. The high dependency on the big-tech companies and the huge cost increase due to these products cause major concerns amongst regulators and public health care experts.

The upcoming BIMUN Conference provides the Council of the EU with an opportunity to implement a regulatory framework for a future issue of general public health. Privatizing the use of medical data further increases the exposure towards privacy rights issues. Cloud services present a great opportunity for medical research and cooperative engagement to help developing countries, but they also provide exposure and dependency towards big-tech companies who monopolize the possession of information.

The delegates of the Council of the EU are presented with the responsibility of protecting private medical information and assuring financially and socially fair treatments. The challenge of maintaining a reasonable demand for AI providers to engage with and insuring data security alike must be an issue of urgent matter because the increased use of AI is here to stay.

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