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Socially Assistive Robots Supervision

Socially assistive robots have the goal of automating supervision, coaching, motivation, and companionship in one-on-one interactions with individuals (Feil-Seifer and MatariC 2011). They are targeted at persons who experience cognitive impairments as a consequence of aging, stroke, dementia, or autism spectrum disorder, among many other etiologies, opening up a range of ethical concerns. Benefits of an ethical treatment should exceed the risks if the ethical principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence are followed. These robots are not in clinical use, but there have been research studies with potential client groups.

One of the areas of robotic application is the provision of care by devices that include clinical decision making based on sensing and AI. These devices may be developed in the form of “carebots.” From an ethical point of view, there are two distinct approaches: replacement of human care by ATs and care assisted by AI technologies but without replacing human care. The latter is far less controversial than the former (Coeckelbergh 2010). In this section, we discuss both the current clinical application and the possible future implications for this type of care because the ethical issues raised are far reaching and could affect future AT application in general.

 
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