Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Kidney exchange and computation

Here's an article on how computation--broadly characterized as artificial intelligence--has changed kidney transplantation. It gives some historical background on hard decisions, going back to the first dialysis machines and coming forward to kidney exchange, and has some discussion of  fairness

How AI changed organ donation in the US
By Corinne Purtill

"Today, multiple US hospitals run their own paired kidney donation programs. There are also three larger US exchanges that organize kidney chains across hospitals: the United Network for Organ Sharing, the National Kidney Registry, and the Alliance for Paired Kidney Donation. National exchanges are in place in the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands, and paired donations have taken place in hospitals from India to South Africa.
"Given the dearth of public education on what “artificial intelligence” actually means, hospitals and exchanges are wary of patients misconstruing the role algorithms play in identifying potential matches, perhaps fearing conjuring images of robots coldly issuing life-or-death edicts.

Machines currently do not decide which kidneys go where. Humans do that. The algorithms in place today can do the math more reliably and at greater scale than humans can, and implement the judgments humans have already made, but they don’t have a contextual understanding of why they are being asked to perform a calculation in the first place.
“In economics we talk about impossibility theorems. There are things you might want that are not possible to get,” Roth says. “When you’re allocating scarce resources, you can’t give a kidney to one person without failing to give it to someone else…. Computers will not lift the burden from humans in every respect.”

No comments: