Artificial Intelligence and discrimination risks in the health sector


  • Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius


  • Minna Ruckenstein
  • Tena Šimonović Einwalter
  • Carlos Castillo
  • Tamar Sharon

Organisation: iHUB, Radboud University

Room: Online 1

Timing: 17:15 - 18:30 on 29 January 2021

Risks of discrimination related to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated decision-making are already well-documented in several domains, including policing, hiring, loans, and benefit fraud detection. In the past year, a number of cases have indicated that the health and medical sector are not immune to the discriminatory effects of AI. Studies have shown that algorithms widely used across hospitals and health systems to guide patient care, on everything from heart surgery and kidney care, to caesarean birth and prioritizing patients following the backlog of appointments caused by coronavirus, can be racially and culturally biased, and can exacerbate existing health inequalities.

• In this panel we will discuss the risks of bias, AI-driven discrimination, and unfair differentiation in the health sector. Is there something specific to discrimination risks in the health sector?
• Are the trade-offs between the benefits and risks of AI different in this sector as opposed to other sectors?
• Is there a health sector-specific notion of fairness? If so, are sector-specific rules needed for AI in the health?
• Should legal protection against AI-driven discrimination and unfair differentiation be improved and who should attend to this: non-discrimination scholars or bioethicists?

We aim for a lively discussion panel: no presentations and no slides, but a discussion among the panelists and with the audience. The panel will be made up of experts from different disciplines and backgrounds.


Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius

iHub & iCIS Institute for Computing and Information Sciences, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL)

Prof Frederik Zuiderveen Borgesius is Professor ICT and Law at Radboud University Nijmegen, where he is affiliated with the Institute for Computing and Information Sciences, and with new interdisciplinary research hub on Security, Privacy, and Data Governance: the iHub.


Minna Ruckenstein

Tena Šimonović Einwalter

Equinet (HR)

As one of the drafters of the Croatian Anti-Discrimination Act, Tena began working in the Office of the Ombudsman in 2008 to set up its equality body mandate. She was elected by the Croatian Parliament as Deputy Ombudswoman in 2013 and has overseen the institution’s non-discrimination and equality work ever since. As an independent expert, she is also a member of the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), a member of ECRI Bureau and co-representative of ECRI to Council of Europe's Ad hoc Committee on Artificial Intelligence (CAHAI). She also delivers lectures and trainings and publishes on human rights, the rights of national minorities and particularly non-discrimination and equality law.

Carlos Castillo

Universitat Pompeu Fabra (ES)

Carlos Castillo is a Distinguished Research Professor at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, where he leads the Web Science and Social Computing research group. He is a web miner with a background on information retrieval, and has been influential in the areas of crisis informatics, web content quality and credibility, and adversarial web search. He is a prolific, highly cited researcher who has co-authored over 80 publications in top-tier international conferences and journals, receiving a test-of-time award, four best paper awards, and two best student paper awards. His works include a book on Big Crisis Data, as well as monographs on Information and Influence Propagation, and Adversarial Web Search.

Tamar Sharon

iHub, Radboud University Nijmegen (NL)

Tamar Sharon is an Associate Professor in philosophy of technology and co-director of the Interdisciplinary Hub for Security, Privacy and Data Governance (iHub) at Radboud University. Her research explores the ethical and societal impacts of the digitalization of health, and has been funded by the Dutch Research Council and the ERC. She is a member of the WHO European Advisory Committee on Health Research and of the Young Academy of Europe.