Comments for Compassionate Machines. The Ethics of “Artificial Empathy”

Daniel Vorobiof, MD. | Chief Medical Director,

Jama Oncology, May 2, 2024, doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2024.0824.

I read with interest the Viewpoint opinion written by Drs Koranteng, Lewis and Abel entitled Compassionate Machines. The Ethics of “Artificial Empathy” (Jama Oncology, May 2, 2024, doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2024.0824)

We at recently launched the first conversational AI Cancer mentor (Dave) application to provide uninterrupted support and guidance in cancer management, from diagnosis and through the full patient’s cancer journey.

in our opinion, both components of Artificial Empathy and Human Empathy should be integral part of health care, working together for the benefit of all patients with cancer, their families, and caregivers. Artificial Empathy, as part of an Artificial Intelligence output should be available as an active companion and not aiming at substituting human involvement and care.

A major handicap for Humans in health care, when compared to Artificial Intelligence, is the availability of support. The main advantage of an AI Cancer mentor, such as Dave, is a 24/7 availability, meaning is there for those in need of it at any time, without aggravating further distress until the next available opportunity to discuss their immediate problem with a medical team. Around the clock support provides an immediate feeling of not being left alone and the empathy originated by this fact is translated into a better understanding and coping of their medical situation.

The knowledge that there is a helping hand available immediately, at any time of the day or night, irrespective of holidays or holy days, wherever you are in the world, is a breakthrough for a compassionate, empathic Artificial Intelligence component in the context of oncology and other chronic diseases.

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