The goal of my doctoral research is to explore the ethical issues of the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in medicine from the standpoint of the philosophy of science and technology. AI, especially since the rise of machine learning, is receiving increasing interest in the field of healthcare. It is expected to enhance the precision of medicine and increase the personalization of care, ideally freeing up time for healthcare practitioners to engage more deeply in care with patients. However, these advances of AI technologies raise numerous ethical problems that my doctoral research aims to discuss and, to some extent, resolve (or at least I hope so!).
These ethical issues may be worded as follows: what does it mean for an AI-based system to be explainable? Up to which standards should they be? What does the introduction of AI may entail for the caring relationship between patients and healthcare practitioners? How different norms and values (efficiency of the care but also empathy, fairness, etc.) can be integrated in AI? Which developing process AI should undergo to ensure that they may be ethical by design? (and what does it mean to be ethical by design? Is it even desirable?)
Those remain pretty broad questions but I am still at the dawn of my doctoral project, therefore my time in Oxford will help me narrow down my research to more precise questions. Waiting for more precise considerations, it may still give you a taste of what my research looks like.
However, my conviction is that ethical considerations surrounding AI should be made from a as holistic as possible viewpoint, comprising all socio-technical inputs that may be relevant in the course of developing and then implementing AI devices in healthcare settings. Trading with the philosophy of technology, medical ethics, and inputs from other sciences may help accomplish my project.
Could you please tell us a bit more about your scholarship/exchange programme?
My thesis is funded thanks to the Mission for Transversal and Interdisciplinary Initiatives (MITI) of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and it is scheduled that at least one third of my time during my three-years contract will be in Oxford — which is delightful! My main affiliation is with the IHRIM laboratory at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon where I spend my time when I am not in Oxford.
I will therefore be on and off at the Maison Française, coming here mainly during the terms, in order to make the most of the intense oxonian intellectual life!
First impressions of Oxford/the University?
The least I can say is that Oxford really does live up to the expectations one might have before arriving here. The city may sometimes appear to be surreal as it makes you feel like you are caught in a postcard. A true feeling of being a bit embedded in a parallel reality — but a very pleasant one with a cosy atmosphere that promises to be conducive to intellectual flourishing thanks to the very nice people we can meet here and to the outstanding resources the libraries have to offer!