Don’t rely on virtual assistants for quick CPR training.

Don't rely on virtual assistants for quick CPR training.

Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Voice Assistants for CPR Instructions


If you find yourself in a life-threatening situation and need quick directions on performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), relying on voice assistants like Alexa or Siri might not be the best idea. According to a new study, the directions provided by these artificial intelligence (AI) helpers are inconsistent and lack relevance. The research suggests that bystanders should call emergency services instead of depending on voice assistants for accurate CPR instructions.

Dr. Adam Landman, the chief information officer and senior vice president of digital operations at Mass General Brigham in Boston, emphasizes the need for standardization and evidence-based guidance in AI voice assistants. Although voice assistants have the potential to provide CPR instructions, they need improvements to their core functionalities to ensure accuracy in life-saving situations.

The study involved presenting eight verbal questions to four popular voice assistants: Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant’s Nest Mini, and Microsoft’s Cortana. The researchers also typed the same questions into ChatGPT, an AI language model. Two board-certified emergency medicine physicians evaluated the responses.

Surprisingly, almost half of the responses from the voice assistants were unrelated to CPR. This included information about a movie called “CPR” and even a link to Colorado Public Radio News. Only 28% of the replies suggested calling emergency services, and even fewer, 34%, provided CPR instruction. Shockingly, only 12% of the responses gave verbal instructions.

Interestingly, ChatGPT offered the most relevant information among the AI tools tested. These findings indicate that relying on existing voice assistants for CPR instructions may not only delay critical care but also provide inappropriate information.

Receiving prompt CPR is crucial, as it has been associated with a two- to fourfold increase in survival when administered by a lay person outside of a hospital setting. While bystanders can sometimes obtain CPR instructions from emergency dispatchers, these services are not universally available.

The study’s conclusions highlight the need for improvement in voice assistant technology and the importance of relying on emergency services for accurate CPR instructions. Quick and appropriate CPR can save lives, and it is crucial to prioritize reliable sources of information in emergency situations.

The study, published in JAMA Network Open, serves as a reminder to the public about the limitations of AI technology in critical situations. The potential for error and misinformation emphasizes the need for comprehensive training and awareness of reliable CPR techniques.

If you want to learn more about CPR and how to properly administer it, refer to the American Heart Association’s resources. By having a clear understanding of CPR techniques and relying on accurate sources, you can be better prepared to provide assistance during life-threatening emergencies.

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