Reducing Real-World Deaths With AI

At first glance, this is an example of a major technical victory. Through careful development and testing, an AI model successfully augmented doctors’ ability to diagnose disease. But a new report from the Data & Society research institute says this is only half the story. The other half is the amount of skilled social labor that the clinicians leading the project needed to perform in order to integrate the tool into their daily workflows. This included not only designing new communication protocols and creating new training materials but also navigating workplace politics and power dynamics.

The case study is an honest reflection of what it really takes for AI tools to succeed in the real world. “It was really complex,” says coauhtor Madeleine Clare Elish, a cultural anthropologist who examines the impact of AI.