Carebots and the good life: An anticipatory ethical analysis of human-robot interaction in (health) care

An anticipatory ethical analysis of human-robot interaction in (health) care

Given the financial pressure on our health care systems and organisations, robots are likely to play a significant role in health care in the near future.

This project will help to anticipate and evaluate these changes by developing realistic near-future scenarios and by evaluating these scenarios in terms of their contribution to the good life. The focus will be on the ethical aspects of human-robot interaction in health care contexts. Will carebots enhance the quality of life of patients, given that human-human interaction will be substituted for human-robot interaction? What is ‘genuine’ social interaction? What should be an appropriate relation between humans, and between humans and technology? What is the ‘good life’?

‘Good life’ ethics will be used as a theoretical framework, but instead of a ‘top down’ approach the project will start with empirical studies and carry out interviews with health care professionals in order to better understand the nature of human-robot interaction.

In this way, the project will contribute to a better understanding of the ethical issues involved and inform responsible decision-making by various stakeholders such as patients, nurses, relatives, health care managers, and politicians.

Extensive project description

imageResearcher Mark Coeckelbergh with a robot
during his visit to Japan in 2008


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