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Accepted Paper:

Placing a robot in healthcare. Exploring the construction of robot autonomy within a nursing home setting  
Rosanna Ramirez Nethersole (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona) Miquel Domènech (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) Núria Vallès-Peris (Spanish National Research Council - CSIC)

Short abstract:

This paper explores the assemblages that configure a care robot's autonomy during the testing process in an aged care nursing home. By a combination of qualitative methodology, we provide a description of the struggles in constructing, repairing, and maintaining glimpses of robot autonomy.

Long abstract:

Robots for aged care are considered a beacon of hope to the growing imbalance between the demographic rise of older adults needing care and the strain on healthcare services to provide integrated assistance. Within this promissory discourse, claims regarding robotic autonomy have become increasingly important in scientific research and policy agendas (Lipp, 2022). Autonomy, however, far from an inherent robotic attribute; is endeavoured, negotiated, and only sometimes achieved within particular human-machine configurations. Furthermore, successful robotic autonomous behaviour implies efforts in establishing a level of human-machine collaboration, where responsibilities and decision-making authority are distributed between humans and machines (Mindell, 2015).

Within this context, this paper explores the assemblages that configure a care robot's autonomy during the process of robot testing in an aged care nursing home. Specifically, we aim to address: what phenomena participates in the assemblages that configure (glimpses of) robot autonomy?

Employing a combination of qualitative methodology – participant observation followed by semi-structured and open-ended interviews with residents – we provide a thick description of the intricate dynamics and struggles encountered in constructing, repairing, and maintaining instances of robotic autonomous behaviour. Our findings shed light on the need for a redefinition of autonomy in aged care robotics and, most importantly, how the notion of place plays a key role in the interplay of spatial and social assemblages that construct robot autonomy.

Traditional Open Panel P160
Entanglements of STS and bioethics: new approaches to the governance of artificial intelligence and robotics for health
  Session 2 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -