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Generative AI's public health communication concerns : PRmoment Health Communications Review

PRmoment's weekly 'Healthcare Communications Review' column looks at the biggest healthcare trends every week and analyses the communications implications. In partnership with SPAG, A Finn Partners Company.

Over the weekend, I recently watched Bheed (crowd), a searing account of the great migrant journey during the Covid lockdown. The film shows how quickly human bias combined with 'whassap' ( as the migrant characters called it in the movie). can spread fake health news.

With Generative AI, fake news is on steroids.

 Its ease of use is unmatched. And given the overburdened public health system and the underserved rural communities in India, it's all too easy for incorrect health information to spread.

WHO's warning on Generative AI?

Last month, WHO recommended caution while using tools based on Large Language Models like ChatGPT for health work. 

Specifically, the statement warned that: 

  • LLMs generate responses that can appear authoritative and plausible to an end user; however, these responses may be completely incorrect or contain serious errors, especially for health-related responses;
  • LLMs may be trained on data for which consent may not have been previously provided for such use, and LLMs may not protect sensitive data (including health data) that a user provides to an application to generate a response;
  • LLMs can be misused to generate and disseminate highly convincing disinformation in the form of text, audio or video content that is difficult for the public to differentiate from reliable health content; and
  • while committed to harnessing new technologies, including AI and digital health to improve human health, WHO recommends that policy-makers ensure patient safety and protection while technology firms work to commercialize LLMs.

Needless to say, the above is a massive advocacy challenge for health communicators. 

News Capsule

Call out of the week

Do watch Bheed (Crowd) on Netflix for a nuanced look at last-mile health delivery challenges during COVID. 

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That's it for this week. Special thanks to SPAG, a FINN Partner company for their ongoing support for this weekly column.

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