Regulating Care Robots

45 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2019 Last revised: 29 Jun 2023

See all articles by Valarie Blake

Valarie Blake

West Virginia University - College of Law

Date Written: May 29, 2019


Care robots are already assisting the elderly in some nursing homes around the globe and could be in widespread use in hospitals and homes sooner than we think. These robots promise great hope for patients: to help them remain independent, to provide assistance with daily living, to comfort and distract during procedures, to educate, and to be companions during the vulnerable and lonely times in patient lives. Yet, care robots will have unprecedented access to personal lives, combined with designs aimed at winning patient trust and affection, and with recording and sensory capabilities beyond any human. They pose significant risk to privacy, autonomy, and confidentiality, three patient interests integral to preserving trust in the medical system. Regulation of care robots will be necessary to safeguard patient interests and trust and in order for patients to tolerate care robots. This article proposes a regulatory framework for care robots addressing four key stakeholders involved in care robot governance: the providers and institutions that deploy care robots, the manufacturers of such robots, and government agencies. The article proposes some practical, concrete steps that each stakeholder can take now to begin to prepare for a future with care robots.

Keywords: AI, artificial intelligence, robots, social robots, health, health care

Suggested Citation

Blake, Valarie, Regulating Care Robots (May 29, 2019). Temple Law Review, Vol. 92, Forthcoming , WVU College of Law Research Paper No. 2019-020, Available at SSRN:

Valarie Blake (Contact Author)

West Virginia University - College of Law ( email )

101 Law School Drive
Morgantown, WV West Virginia 26506
United States

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