AI-powered robot doctors could help medics better allocate the help they are administering among wounded soldiers, and better use scarce resources on the battlefield, Jerome Buller, head of the US Army Institute of Surgical Research said in an interview published by the Daily Star.
"Let's say you and your fellow soldier have the same injuries - they look the same, pools of blood are the same; you may compensate [as in, survive the injury] far better than she can […] And if I only have two packets of blood, who do I give it to? This technology will help us better use these scarce resources", he explained.
Buller further elaborated that such AI will replace medics' intuition, determining whose injuries a doctor must tend to first. The technology will likely be using a set of devices, monitoring each soldier's state, how he compensates for injuries, as well as each soldier's clinical data from before the fight to make a decision on behalf of medical personnel.
There is a controversial side to it; however, this technology will be determining for the doctor, which patients are already beyond salvation and should not receive medical assistance. Buller believes that it would be easier for doctors this way.
"You have to literally determine which ones are going to live and die, so having some type of automated capability from a cognitive perspective to say, 'Yep, you know they are dead, I'm going to go to the next one,' from a psychological perspective — I think it would have a huge impact on a positive note than just the medic making that call", he said.
Buller noted that such a system is not in the plans for the US Army yet, but could be in the future when it needs to get an edge over a potential near-peer adversary, a term often used by US military officials in regards to countries like China or Russia. He added that some of the technologies for such AI-doctor assistance systems already exist, but can be improved, with pulse oximeter-type interface, which can determine a person blood oxygen saturation.
This is not the first time the US has eyed the use of artificial intelligence technologies, which have been developing rapidly of late, in the military sphere. The Pentagon's DARPA recently announced that it seeks to develop an AI system, which will help the US engineer and test new weaponry more accurately and faster than in the status quo.
Former Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work also recently predicted that AI might find another military use in the future. He suggested it could be used to either control nuclear arsenals or at least give advice on when to use them in warfare, calling the possibility of such systems being devised a "much more alarming prospect" than the use of AI in "killer robots".