A new battle is brewing between states and the federal government regarding the regulation of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) systems, with healthcare serving as the forefront of the disagreement. The use of AI in healthcare has the potential to revolutionize the industry, but there is a lack of consensus when it comes to applying rules and standards nationwide. North Carolina Republican representative Greg Murphy, a practicing surgeon and co-chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus, argues that those who understand the technology should have control over its regulation, rather than the federal government. However, the rules surrounding AI’s application in healthcare remain unclear and vary from state to state, posing potential risks and challenges.
Predictive AI tools have the potential to greatly enhance healthcare by detecting early signs of disease through in-depth scans of medical imaging. Additionally, AI chatbots trained on medical journals can assist doctors with administrative tasks, offer medical suggestions, and communicate with patients more compassionately. Currently, approximately one in five doctors in the US already utilize some form of AI in their practice. However, as the use of AI proliferates, the rules governing its applications are ambiguous, leaving room for misinformation and potential harm. Murphy raises concerns about the loss of humanity and control if human doctors are overruled by AI’s suggestions, highlighting the need for clearer regulations.
While states are introducing legislation to rein in the misuse of AI in healthcare, the federal government is also drafting its own regulations. However, there is a risk of conflict between state and federal regulations, similar to the disagreements over digital privacy rules in the past. State laws that aim to restrict AI’s discriminatory practices or regulate AI algorithms in patient diagnosis may differ significantly from federal regulations. The battle over AI regulation could lead to varying requirements and regulations on a state level. Interestingly, recent surveys have shown that a majority of US adults feel uncomfortable with AI being used to diagnose diseases or recommend treatments, demonstrating their reluctance to have AI dictate their medical care. However, there is also a growing demand for government intervention in AI regulation, as many individuals do not trust tech companies to self-regulate in this area.