Multi Scale Ethics – Why we need a sociological approach to the ethics of AI in healthcare at different scales.

Event date
8 June 2022
Event time
17:00 - 18:00
Oxford week
TT 7
LIVE On line Zoom Meeting
Dr Melanie Smallman, Associate Professor, Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL

Special guest speaker, Dr Melanie Smallman, UCL will address our live webinar audience on Wednesday 8 June from 5pm (BST)

Title :Multi Scale Ethics – Why we need a sociological approach to the ethics of AI in healthcare at different scales.

Abstract : In May 2018, a group of my neighbours dressed up in bandages and fake wounds and lay on the ground in our local town square, staging a public ‘die-in’, as a dramatic protest against the ‘GP at Hand’ AI app, widely described as the first instance of AI being used within the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).  At the same time, around the world, we are seeing a significant growth in interest and investment in AI in healthcare, coupled with an array of ethical guidelines for the use of AI and data in healthcare.  In this presentation, I will reflect on current approaches to AI Ethics and ask how they can have missed the very issues that are driving my neighbours to the streets to protest against these technologies.  In particular, I will argue that to fully understand the ethical implications of AI and data technologies, a Multi-Scale Ethics (MSE) approach is needed to enable technology developers and policymakers to anticipate and take account of the growing evidence that AI and data technologies have the potential to powerfully shape our institutions and societies in particular ways, as well as affect individuals.



Melanie's research focuses on the social impacts of science and technology and how these impacts shape public views around new and emerging technologies and public policy. In particular, Melanie is interested in the role of science and innovation in increasing economic inequality, how this affects public attitudes and how this can be accounted for in ethical frameworks and public policy. 

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Law and Technology