granny and the robot

Granny and the robots: Ethical issues in robot care for the elderly

Robot Care for the Elderly

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Granny and the robots: Ethical issues in robot care for the elderly

Sharkey, A. and Sharkey, N., 2012. Granny and the robots: Ethical issues in robot care for the elderly. Ethics and Information Technology, 14, pp.27-40

In this article, the authors seek to assess and ascertain whether the fears and skeptical sentiments as alluded to by some stakeholders in elderly care, are genuine. Their article points out a few relevant arguments that seek to support such claims as well as offer real life situations that seem to contrast the negative claims. In their in-depth analysis of the article we find that there has been a steady rise in the elderly population in many places in the world. Such nations include: Spain, Italy and the USA. As a result, the need to find adequate means of taking care of these elderly citizens becomes necessary.

In this article, one of the ethical concerns pointed out is the reduction in human interaction if robots were deployed to care for the elderly. As illustrated by the authors of this article, the use of robots for house chores may limit the otherwise necessary human interaction between the elderly citizen and the cleaner. Such are the ethical concerns that may alleviate the use of robots. The use of remote controlled robots for monitoring and virtual visitation of the elderly could also result in a reduction in companionship due to withdrawal from family.

The article compares the communication and decrease in loneliness scores of the elderly citizens when interacting with the Sony AIBO robotic dog and with a living dog. It is realized that the results are relatively similar. Consequently, the article asserts that the use of assistive robots which offer the elderly citizens, some autonomy over decisions made in their lives could be a viable option for implementation. That notwithstanding, the article highlights the need for stakeholders to establish legislation and guidelines that mitigate the probable issues that may arise from use of care-giving robots. (293 words)


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