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Artificial Intelligence – friend or foe?

Dr Scott Martin painted a picture of a world where robots could take on many caring roles – asking: is this one way of making palliative care fit for the future?

Dr Martin argued that a robot with artificial intelligence could begin to understand when patients were feeling discomfort, could coach them and be fun and reduce feelings that they are a burden on friends and family.

He said there was potential for increased robotics in caring and health care.

“There are many things that computers just do, that you can’t see, and that is really powerful. There is a huge opportunity to do more but we are all ‘too offline’ to achieve it yet.”

His vision for a more computerised and connected health system was endorsed by other keynote speakers at the conference.

Dr Christian Sinclair, an assistant professor of palliative care at the University of Kansas Medical School, said palliative care might be too caught up in the need for human touch.

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