Public perceptions of artificial intelligence and robotics in medicine

Bethany Stai, Nick Heller, Sean McSweeney, Jack Rickman, Paul Blake, Ranveer Vasdev, Zach Edgerton, Resha Tejpaul, Matt Peterson, Joel Rosenberg, Arveen Kalapara, Subodh Regmi, Nikolaos Papanikolopoulos, Christopher Weight

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Objective: To understand better the public perception and comprehension of medical technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic surgery. In addition to this, to identify sensitivity to their use to ensure acceptability and quality of counseling. Subjects and Methods: A survey was conducted on a convenience sample of visitors to the MN Minnesota State Fair (n = 264). Participants were randomized to receive one of two similar surveys. In the first, a diagnosis was made by a physician and in the second by an AI application to compare confidence in human and computerbased diagnosis. Results: The median age of participants was 45 (interquartile range 28-59), 58% were female (n = 154) vs 42% male (n = 110), 69% had completed at least a bachelor's degree, 88% were Caucasian (n = 233) vs 12% ethnic minorities (n = 31) and were from 12 states, mostly from the Upper Midwest. Participants had nearly equal trust in AI vs physician diagnoses. However, they were significantly more likely to trust an AI diagnosis of cancer over a doctor's diagnosis when responding to the version of the survey that suggested that an AI could make medical diagnoses ( p = 9.32e-06). Though 55% of respondents (n = 145) reported that they were uncomfortable with automated robotic surgery, the majority of the individuals surveyed (88%) mistakenly believed that partially autonomous surgery was already happening. Almost all (94%, n = 249) stated that they would be willing to pay for a review of medical imaging by an AI if available. Conclusion: Most participants express confidence in AI providing medical diagnoses, sometimes even over human physicians. Participants generally express concern with surgical AI, but they mistakenly believe that it is already being performed. As AI applications increase in medical practice, health care providers should be cognizant of the potential amount of misinformation and sensitivity that patients have to how such technology is represented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1041-1048
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of endourology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Additional support was provided by the Climb for Kidney Cancer Foundation.

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R01CA225435.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. All rights reserved.


  • Active surveillance
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Patient counseling
  • Robotic surgery

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review


Dive into the research topics of 'Public perceptions of artificial intelligence and robotics in medicine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this