Did I Tell You My New Therapist is a Robot? Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues of Healthcare and Therapeutic Robots
30 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2018
Date Written: October 17, 2018
Social robots and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are increasingly used in healthcare. Typical examples of such robots are mobile assistants, cognitive therapeutic robots, and drones. This paper highlights the ethical, legal, and societal (ELS) issues of social robots in a highly sensitive domain - healthcare - and explores solutions to the identified challenges. This is in line with the latest European robot regulatory initiatives, and covers an area of research that has been scarcely covered in the latest AI and robot governance strategies. Our research contributes to the existing literature by providing findings from four international workshops held between 2015 and 2017 that gathered experts in the field. Specifically, we highlight challenges to the use of social robots in healthcare that are connected to the human-robot interaction. This happens either from a user/patient perspective, including issues such as privacy, autonomy, or the dehumanization of interactions, or from a worker perspective, including issues such as the possible replacement of nurses and doctors through robots. The paper also compiles the solutions to these ELS issues the experts deem appropriate to mitigate compounding risks. In the paper we argue that robot and AI policies that do not take into consideration the specifics of the concrete field of application risk being ineffective. Our contribution seeks thus to provide substantive sector-specific information to inform the current policy debate and set the scene for more interdisciplinary research.
Keywords: Ethical Legal and Societal Issues (ELSI), Healthcare Robots, Human-Robot Interaction, Autonomy, Privacy, Responsibility
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation