Promotional material for The Justice Syndicate, featuring a partially open matchbox on a red background with twelve matches visible.
Image Credit: Fast Familiar

The Doctor’s Assistant

Story description

The Doctor’s Assistant is a scenario game exploring near futures of data-driven healthcare. Participants are presented with three different cases of the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare settings. Each case explores increasing complexity, both procedural and ethical. Accessing information via relatable character ‘talking heads’ and news bulletins, participants are invited to consider questions around explainability, interpretability and responsibility.

When played online, the game is accessed via a web-browser; the face-to-face version is accessed on iPads. In both cases, the bespoke control system logs anonymised data on participant responses to prompts given during the game. Gathering more data each time it is played, the game provides a comprehensive body of information which can be used to inform future research in this area.


Commissioning notes and aims

The Doctor’s Assistant was commissioned by Wellcome / EPSRC Centre for Interventional and Surgical Sciences and University College London Hospitals Biomedical Research Centre.

It has a dual aim of educating the public about the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare settings, and informing work done by researchers with the concerns of patients’ groups and the wider public.


Research done

The Doctor’s Assistant will be used in online settings from February 2021, and then for face-to-face events when COVID-19 restrictions allow.


Cast and creative team

WRITER Rachel Briscoe | DIRECTOR Dan Barnard | MEDIA CONTENT & TECH PLATFORM Joe McAlister | ADDITIONAL CONTENT DEVLOPMENT Yipeng Hu, Rawen Kader, Hani Marcus, Dan Taylor, Daniel Toth, Simon Watt, Ros Yu | CAST Benjamin Aluwihare, Michael Blair, Sabrina Carter, Kamaal Hussein, Keshini Misha, Yana Penrose, Jamie Zubairi