Acceptance Aspects

Media usually picture assistive robots as a panacea that will solve all problems of our aging society. On the other extreme, many movies show robots coming to life and killing people. These two opposing scenarios make people hesitate about using an ARM.

Another barrier to the acceptance of ARMs is the fact that some caregivers (e.g., parents) don’t believe it is socially acceptable and feel guilty about replacing their loving caregiving by something as cold and heartless as a robot. Some caregivers may even fear losing their jobs.

Social isolation arising from the independence provided by an ARM can also be a concern. This should be counterbalanced with the fact that a more independent end user has more choices on where to be and with whom, giving him or her more social possibilities in the end.

One factor that is important with respect to ARM acceptance is that, in general, no one wants to look different (see Chapter 10). So, again generally speaking, people in a wheelchair want to look as “normal” as possible. Adding a robot to the wheelchair does not help with this appearance.

Also, a saying often heard is: “This is not going to work for my (client/son/ daughter).” This comment is made without consulting the potential end user. An open mind, without prejudice and putting the end user at the center of the process, could help arriving at a good decision (please refer to the Human Activity Assistive Technology [HAAT] model briefly described in Chapter 1).

 
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