A sociologist at Washington State University will test how people at risk for lung cancer in a rural area of the state respond to AI-generated text messages encouraging them to visit a local clinic to be screened for the disease.

Two versions of messages will be sent to some 200 patients, one direct and one polite, said Anna Zamora-Kapoor, who’s leading the NIH-funded project that aims to advance health equity and researcher diversity.

Why it matters: The project aims to help rural clinics use the limited resources they have to reach out to a higher number of patients than they’ve been able to in the past.

It should also show which message would most effectively convince people to be screened for cancer.

Zamora-Kapoor’s project targets people between ages 50 and 80 with a history of smoking who would benefit from a low-dose CT scan to detect lung cancer as early as possible. But the insights from the project could also be useful for screening for other cancers, she said.

“We need to create structures to make sure that emerging and powerful tools like AI and machine learning are democratized,” she told Carmen. “Right now, if we just let the market decide who’s going to access these tools, they’re just going to benefit the rich, they’re just going to benefit urban areas and they’re just going to benefit the white majority that doesn’t have an accent,” she said.

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Future Pulse (Politico.com)