When someone is in the hospital, whether they are conscious or not is determined by a bedside exam—but those exams aren’t always accurate, especially when deciding whether a patient is in a “minimally conscious state” or has “unresponsive wakefulness syndrome.” Now, scientists have created a machine learning algorithm that uses brain waves to determine consciousness even in such hard-to-tell edge cases. But should life-or-death decisions be left to a machine?

A sensitive matter to reflect on carefully, with Scientific American