Tag Archives: Artificial Intelligence

Placebos and AI

It remains to be seen how the emerging field of Placebo Studies will incorporate the tidal surge in the use and application of Large Language Models and other forms of AI. It may be that an AI can learn to stimulate the placebo effect periodically, or as the output of some kind of trigger. It may be that the AI can also be used, consciously or not, to trigger a ‘nocebo’ effect. As with all things AI, it’s a balancing act between the extraordinary potential of the technology for benefit or for harm. But the genie is certainly out of the bottle. The graphic for this post was generated by Bing Image Creator purely from a text prompt: “The placebo effect in a world of advanced technology”

The placebo effect and AI!

It seems the placebo effect is ubiquitous. With all the recent excitement and ocnjecture about rapid advances in Artifical Intelligence and Machine Learning, it seems that our belief that a decision is backed by an AI will not only enhance our confidence in the veracity of that decision, but also make for better decisions! This research shows that:

“Participants were asked to solve word puzzles while being supported by no system or an adaptive AI interface. All participants experienced the same word puzzle difficulty and had no support from an AI throughout the experiments. Our results showed that the belief of receiving adaptive AI support increases expectations regarding the participant’s own task performance, sustained after interaction. These expectations were positively correlated to performance, as indicated by the number of solved word puzzles.”