John and Marsha Ryan Bioethicist in Residence examines use of artificial intelligence in patient diagnosis, treatment

Southern Illinois University



John and Marsha Ryan Bioethicist in Residence examines use of artificial intelligence in patient diagnosis, treatment

March 07, 2019, Pete Rosenbery


CARBONDALE, Ill. — The importance of ensuring public trust in using artificial intelligence for patient diagnosis and treatment is the focus of the 2019 John and Marsha Ryan Bioethicist in Residence lecture this month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Noted medical ethicist Alex John London will present “Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Does Accountability Require Explainability?”

The lecture is at 5 p.m., March 20, at the SIU School of Law in Carbondale. It will be simulcast to the SIU School of Medicine’s Dirksen Conference Room in the medical library in Springfield. The lecture is free, and the public is welcome.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to attend the Ryan Bioethicist in Residence lecture with Alex John London at 5 p.m., March 20, in the SIU School of Law courtroom. For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Michele Mekel, the law school’s director of external relations, at or 618/453-8768. For the March 22 lecture in Springfield, contact Kristie Parkins, SIU School of Medicine Medical Humanities, at or 217/545-4261.

London is the Clara L. West Professor of Ethics and Philosophy and director of the Center for Ethics and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University. For more than a decade, he has helped shape key ethical guidelines for the oversight of research with human participants, according to lecture organizers.

He is co-editor of “Ethical Issues in Modern Medicine,” one of the most widely used textbooks in medical ethics and has published more than 85 papers in leading philosophy and medical journals. London’s work on ethics and artificial intelligence “centers around the nature of ethical decision making in computational systems and mechanisms for ensuring social trust, accountability and non-domination.”

AI technology brings hopes, fears

Like other new technologies, use of artificial intelligence, or AI, brings great expectations and hype, while some view AI as replacing physicians and “a threat to the moral integrity of modern medicine,” London said.

He takes a more measured view in applying artificial intelligence to the medical field. London said he is optimistic but cautious, and notes that even successful medical interventions have their costs, risks and downsides.

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