On the face of it, the question “Can Computers Make Life-or-Death Decisions?” is devilishly simple to answer. Of course they can. The real question is, can they make decisions with which we agree?
Would you be willing to let a computer decide your medical care? Apparently, they anticipate your wishes better than your own family. Research by bioethicist David Wendler shows decisions made using a simple formula are more likely to accurately reflect the wishes of the patient than decisions made by a human surrogate.
Perhaps best left to the imagination is the kind of controversy that would happen if a computer’s decision contradicted the wishes of the family.
Of course, if people would just take the time to prepare a document expressing their wishes, this kind of guessing game wouldn’t be needed.