ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

AI Surgical Assistants and Malpractice Law

Updated on October 3, 2015

Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Artificial intelligence is making advances at an astonishing rate. One only has to look at the technology that has become increasingly available in the past few years and what will be available in the near future. Smarter voice recognition software, instant-translation capabilities, and self-driving cars are just a few examples.

But what's in the future? Google is already looking to integrate artificial intelligence based machinery to assist doctors with surgical procedures. The robotic controls gives the user greater finesse than is normally possible during minimally invasive surgeries. They will also be able to show information about the patient that would usually be handled by having multiple monitors around the surgeon to look at.


The Malpractice Problem

So why bring up malpractice laws? Well, this is all new territory for the world so we don't have precedents to fall back on yet. Who is to blame if surgery ends badly? Did the operator make a mistake? Was there some defect with the robot? Did the artificial intelligence cause the error?

These are serious legal issues that will have to be worked out and will further complicate the judicial process. Nations around the world still struggle with internet related law enforcement, and that's a form of technology that has been fairly widespread since the 90's. With artificial intelligence becoming the next major breakthrough that will affect everyday life, how quickly will judicial systems adapt? Many sitting judges and politicians are still trying to figure out MySpace and the tangled web of intellectual property in a virtual environment that spans across the entire world.


The Future

We saw how quickly computer technology advanced in a short few decades. Computers used to take up entire rooms, now we have computers that fit into the palm of your hand. How quickly will artificial intelligence evolve once researchers truly get the ball rolling. Will we have robot surgeons with the human element mostly removed?

We must keep our eyes on the future of technology and push for clearly defined laws and regulations early, or we may risk an era of uninformed judges who aren't sure how to rule in cases where artificial intelligence is concerned. In a world where we have computer watches and almost everything in our home is connected to the internet in some way, it's important for everyone to follow new developments and think about the impacts it can have, both positive and negative.

My Own Take

Call me naive or idealistic, but the prospect of AI robotics in surgery doesn't really worry me at all. The fact that human lives are very much on the line and the uncertainty of who would be at fault in malpractice cases makes a strong case for ensuring that the robots are excellently built and highly maintained, as is with any other piece of hospital equipment. Even more so, I would bet, because they are being designed with surgery in mind, a practice that is already well documented to have risks involved, and the makers of such machinery would want to minimize those risks as much as possible.

Could development into too much artificial intelligence and robots be bad? Naturally, just about every scientific discovery or invention can be abused or cause unforeseen effects. If we have robots do pretty much everything, will we devolve into a world like Idiocracy or Wall-E? It's possible, but I highly doubt it. People still enjoy doing their own thing, whether it is creating something, improving their body or mind, or just enjoying life with friends and family. I don't think we'll have to worry about the population becoming incredibly stupid or lazier than it already is. With more free time available, we'll be able to pursue our own dreams instead of working so many hours a week. It may be the optimist in me, but I foresee a future more akin to Star Trek than Wall-E.

A cursory look at how robotics are being developed and used today is quite reassuring, showing that more precise movements can be made by a controller than by the human hand. The biggest downside, most likely, will be that surgeons will need to be retrained to use this machinery and jobs will be lost. Why pay assistants when you can have a machine do it, especially when that machine won't get tired or stressed. That's pretty much a fact of life, it happened in the automobile industry, we're watching it start to happen in the fast food industry, it can happen to just about any industry.

I have high hopes for the future of technology and welcome our robotic brothers in making dangerous work simpler. Of course we'll have to make sure we treat it with respect, because you know. Terminators.

Does the idea of artificial intelligence in medical procedures unnerve you?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)