Robots Humanize Care - Moral Concerns Versus Witnessed Benefits for the Elderly

Margo van Kemenade, Elly A. Konijn, Johan Hoorn
2015 Proceedings of the International Conference on Health Informatics   unpublished
Ageing in Europe comes more rapidly than many realize: In about 10 years, one fifth of the population will be 65+ with a further increase of 70% in the next 25 years. At the same time, healthcare is under extreme pressure due to budget cuts, limited resources and personnel together with increased demands. Robots may fulfill important tasks in this respect. Our research focuses on social robots to support tasks requiring interpersonal communication. Many moral concerns and objections are raised,
more » ... ections are raised, however, in particular among care professionals. To examine the issue, we report on 1) a qualitative study among professional caregivers and 2) a documentary portraying healthy elderly meeting with Hanson's Robokind "Alice". Alice is under development in our lab, supplying her with abilities for emotional responses. The results show that the moral concerns are not in line with the benefits that the social robots appear to have for the lonely elderly. Our conclusion posits that new robot technology may not dehumanize care but rather may bring humanness back into professional health care.
doi:10.5220/0005287706480653 fatcat:467qvbx7nvc4znmcshro75z4cq