AI in Healthcare: Who’s responsible?

A/Prof. Bernadette Richards1

1University Of Adelaidde, Adelaide, Australia

We live in a world where new is better and there is a perception that this brave new world of technological advancement is a better place where disease will be banished and human error overcome. Whilst technological advancement has the potential to improve healthcare, achieve longer life and reduce the impact of human error, it brings with it a new set of legal and ethical concerns that warrant careful consideration.  This paper will consider the increasing role of artificial intelligence in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.  The core themes to be addressed include the following:

  • Who is responsible when things go wrong?
  • Is the addition of AI to treatment teams ethically appropriate?
  • What happens when we take ‘humanity’ out of the diagnosis and treatment equation?
  • How can this interaction be appropriately regulated?


Bernadette Richards is an active researcher in the areas of Tort Law, Medical Law, and Bioethics.  She has written a text book on Tort Law (Tort Law Principles,) contributed to a collaborative text, Health Law in Australia and co-authored, Medical Law and Ethics: A Problem Based Approach.  Bernadette is Chair of a major clinical research ethics committee, Associate Editor (Law) of the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry President of Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL). Current research projects include  advance care planning and vulnerable populations, access to innovative treatment, clinical interventions for intersex minors and regulation of innovative procedures.

About the Association

The Australasian Association of Bioethics and Health Law (AABHL) was formed in 2009.

It encourages open discussion and debate on a range of bioethical issues, providing a place where people can ask difficult questions about ideas and practices associated with health and illness, biomedical research and human values.

The AABHL seeks to foster a distinctive Australasian voice in bioethics, and provide opportunities for international engagement through its membership, journal and conferences.

Members come from all the contributing humanities, social science and science disciplines that make up contemporary bioethics.

Many members have cross-disciplinary interests and all seek to broaden the dialogues in which all members of the wider community ultimately have an interest.

The AABHL is a supportive, creative and challenging community that provides a rich source of continuing academic refreshment and renewal.

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