Artificial Intelligence in Medicine: Does Our Own Support Us More or Control Us More?

Luc Williams

The concept of “Internet of Things“, i.e. connecting devices directly to the Internet and/or to each other. The next step in the evolution of Internet technologies will be precisely “Internet of bodies” (Internet of Bodies, IoB). The term was first used in 2016 by scientist and writer Dr. Andrea M. Matwyshyn. According to her, the IoB is a network of human bodies whose integrity and functionality depend at least in part on the Internet and related technologies, such as artificial intelligence”.

Most of us use at least one AI-powered device every day, and so we already belong to the IoB world. That’s why Matwyshyn distinguished three categories of the Internet of Bodies, depending on the level of integration of the device with the human body.

The first generation is external. Smartwatches monitoring sleep phases, blood pressure and how many steps we took per day. Insulin pumpswhich check the blood sugar level of a diabetic and, depending on its level, administer the appropriate dose of insulin. Modern industry has been producing them en masse for many years, and doctors almost routinely implant them in patients, saving their health and often their lives. And this is just a small part of the possibilities that modern medicine and technology offer people.

The second generation is internal. These are devices that are swallowed or implanted. These are pacemakers With digital implantsWhether cochlear implants allowing both children and adults to regain hearing. Or digital pillswhich, after swallowing, scan the patient’s entire digestive system and send ready medical data directly to the doctor’s computer.

The third generation consists of devices that can completely connect with the human body, sending information about its condition to an external machine in real time. One of the most famous projects is brain-computer interfacewhich is being worked on by specialists from NeuralinkElon Musk. The first coin-sized chip implanted in a man paralyzed from the shoulders down received electrical signals from his brain and enabled him to play chess with a computer using his mind. Unfortunately, after a few weeks, the implant had to be removed from the patient’s skull, but thanks to this experiment, scientists were convinced that a brain-machine connection is possible.

Personal Freedom and the Internet of Bodies

The development of new technologies connecting the human body with external devices gives hope to people whom modern medicine cannot yet help. And where there are great possibilities, there is also a huge scope for abuses that pose a challenge to both lawyers and ethicists.

Devices permanently connected to human bodies will be collected and storedsensitive data regarding health, habits, risky behaviors, or political preferences. This is information that most of us do not want to share with others, especially those who will use it make money on our weaknesses. This primarily concerns pharmaceutical corporations, food and drug companies, and governments. Especially the latter, having access to knowledge about our political views, may want to use them to create and transmit personalized disinformationwhich threatens not only democracy, but also our personal freedom.

Thanks to social media, we are already living in closed information bubbles. People who knew our views on economic, social or political issues could easily manipulate us by feeding us specially prepared information in order to stay in power or provoke social unrest. A perfect example of this is Pizzagateor a conspiracy theory created by QAnon movementwhich almost ended with a mass shooting at a Washington pizzeria on December 4, 2016.

Still human or already a biorobot?

IoB Devices Bring Public Conversation ethical issues. Should the possibility of improving one’s body and health depend only on the wealth of our wallets? Will nanomachines supporting health be widely available to all those in need, regardless of their financial status? After how many corrections and improvements will we still be human, and at what point will we transform from a human into bionic robot? Who will be responsible for monitoring and preventing potential abuse?

What might a world look like in which a person’s essence is reduced to a cortical stack, a plate carrying the consciousness and memories of an individual, be like, as described by Richard Morgan in his science fiction novel “Modified carbon”. Being cut off from the physical body has its advantages. Interplanetary travel will be limited to sending a file, which after reaching the destination will be poured into a synthetic body, the possibilities of which are limited only by the imagination of the ordering party and their budget. The richest have access to an infinite number of biological bodies into which their consciousness is transferred, and life can last indefinitely. In theory, death and disease do not exist, and instead of going to prison, criminals lose their bodies for a period specified by law with no guarantee that they will return to them after serving it. On the black market, you can buy cortical stacks of unlucky people who are used as slave labor, and one day the richest man on the planet realizes that he has been murdered. And he does not know by whom or why.

Will the law keep up with technological developments?

But before technology develops enough to allow us to save our memories on “hard drives” implanted in cloned and biologically enhanced bodythe world must cope with current threats. While implanting implants that stimulate or even replace the work of specific parts of the brain responsible for the occurrence of symptoms Parkinson’s disease are regulated by the relevant provisions of generally applicable law, whereas consumer devices of the Internet class are not yet subject to any restrictions.

For now, the possibility of using the most modern solutions will probably often be a derivative of the wealth of the person who wants to use them. And the lack of codified rules governing the market for such services exposes them not only financially, but also health-wise. People who undergo procedures using unverified technologies that do not have a specific “homologation” allowing them for common use become guinea pigs dependent on the skills and experience of people supervising the integration of the human body with the machine, chance, or other random events. Who will bear the brunt legal and financial responsibility when an accident occurs?

Risk of cyberattack

It is definitely easier for Europeans to take care of their rights in the area of ​​collecting and storing personal data. Here, we are protected European Unionintroducing regulations on GDPRand the General Data Protection Regulation is intended to protect us from threats related to data security breaches and cyber attacks.

And there may be more of them every year. According to Mordor Intelligence itself global market for internet-connected medical devices will be worth around $66 billion in 2024 and is expected to reach over $132 billion by 2029. This means that every year more machines will be connected to the Internet, which, if not properly secured, can become a gateway through which cyberattack and paralysis of the hospital or clinic. Then, even the simplest medical procedure will be burdened with a high risk of committing medical errorwhich will threaten the health and lives of hospitalized patients.


Luc's expertise lies in assisting students from a myriad of disciplines to refine and enhance their thesis work with clarity and impact. His methodical approach and the knack for simplifying complex information make him an invaluable ally for any thesis writer.