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The AI-Powered Digital Health Sector: Ethical and Regulatory Considerations When Developing Digital Mental Health Tools for the Older Adult Demographic

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Part of the Advances in Neuroethics book series (AIN)

Abstract

Emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), are creating immense and unprecedented new frontiers. Complex systems supported by AI and utilized in our day-to-day lives include airline reservation systems, loan eligibility programs, college admissions, transportations systems, judicial decisions, and, more recently, healthcare. Through the use of AI, public data from social network platforms can be analyzed to identify influenza outbreaks, environmental disaster management, and political crises never anticipated when the platforms were initially launched. AI-based systems are used to optimize diagnostics and therapeutics through the analysis and correlations of volumes of patient data. Using imaging data of tumors, machines can learn to identify specific forms of cancer better than a human. While these applications add convenience and efficiencies to many aspects of daily life, with increasing potential to harness AI for social benefit comes the potential for risks of harm to individuals and society that must be addressed. Increasingly, data collected from consumers are being leveraged to make health claims (e.g., Facebook’s suicide flag algorithm) which raises ethical issues specific to informed consent and agency. As information and communications technologies and related research expands, new strategies are needed for governance to promote responsible practice and advert mishaps that bring negative societal impacts. This chapter explores emerging technologies applied to the mental healthcare sector generally and more specifically in the older adult population where the use of smart home technologies holds great promise. The goal is to identify these points of promise as well as possible perils as standards of practice develop and regulatory gaps narrow.

Keywords

  • Research ethics
  • Tech ethics
  • Mobile health
  • Digital health
  • AI
  • Smart home
  • Older adults
  • Aging in place
  • Dementia
  • Mental health

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Fig. 11.1

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Nebeker, C., Parrish, E.M., Graham, S. (2021). The AI-Powered Digital Health Sector: Ethical and Regulatory Considerations When Developing Digital Mental Health Tools for the Older Adult Demographic. In: Jotterand, F., Ienca, M. (eds) Artificial Intelligence in Brain and Mental Health: Philosophical, Ethical & Policy Issues. Advances in Neuroethics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74188-4_11

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