School of Law

Medical controversies: Personalised medicine, data & bias

21 May 2019

The latest promise of better healthcare is personalised medicine, which aims to get the right dose to the right patient at the right time. But Richard Ashcroft, Professor of Biomedical Ethics at Queen Mary, cautions that grouping patients by their genetic constitution may well create new forms of inequality. He told BBC Radio 4: “The problem is we don’t know everything, we have patchy data sets which leave out lots of people, which ask the wrong questions and so on. There’s a lot of enthusiasm at the moment for data driven health care, for bringing artificial intelligence and genetics together which has a lot of promise, but what we get is, you train up machine learning systems on data that is biased in how its collected, and biased in how its interpreted, and you could pull people in completely the wrong direction and make the bias worse.”

Listen to the full interview here.