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Accepted Paper:

Robotising Practices of Care: How Our Identities and Care Relationships May Be Affected and Transformed by Care Robots  
Giulia De Togni (The University of Edinburgh)

Paper short abstract:

How may our identities and care relationships be affected by the use of care robots? How may this vary in different cultural contexts? How might our understandings of the role and value of human care influence the development of care robots? And how might these in turn be influenced?

Paper long abstract:

“Socially Assistive Robots” (SARs) may have the potential to ‘care’ for humans in particular through social interactions, physical assistance and therapy delivery (Chita-Tegmark and Scheutz 2020). Turkle (2007) describes SARs as “relational artifacts,” sociable machines equipped with computational systems designed to create a conduit for “emotional touch” with humans by actively facilitating smooth communication. Some researchers posit that “socially-embodied robots” (Ziemke 2001) have the potential to fulfil users’ psychological and emotional needs, including interaction, communication, companionship, care for others and attachment (Kolling et al. 2016).

Some also note that SARs may become key in providing care during a pandemic like the one we are experiencing (Forman et al. 2020). These ‘caring machines’ have a wide range of applications including providing social, emotional and cognitive as well as physical rehabilitation, encouraging healthier life-styles, reminding people to take their medications, delivering tele-medicine support and providing companionship to residents of care homes to reduce feelings of loneliness (Kidd and Breazeal 2007; Lara et al. 2017; Pineau et al. 2003; Robinson et al. 2014; Wada and Shibata 2007).

This paper explores in what ways our identities and care relationships may be affected by the use of SARs and how this may vary in different cultural contexts, focusing in particular on Japan and the UK. It discusses how might our understandings of the role and value of human care influence the development of SARs and how might the latter in turn be influenced, as ‘caring machines’ come into our world.

Panel P09a
AI in Health and Care: Development, Governance, and Ethics in East Asia
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -