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Social Robotics

Robots can improve people’s lives in many ways, from helping them to regain mobility and independence when old or unwell, to providing companionship. We are interested in the ethical issues that arise in the use of robotic and assistive technology. This includes concerns about invasions of privacy and loss of autonomy where monitoring technology is used to observe patients’ adherence to healthcare advice, and issues surrounding the complex relationships that are created when social robots are introduced in to the health and social care environment. We seek opportunities to work with developers towards ‘ethics by design’.

An example of this can be seen in our contribution to the ACCOMPANY project, see a video below which showcases robot technology for supporting elderly people in their homes. We are also interested in the ethical issues that arise when robotic technology is attached to or introduced into the human body.

Working with researchers at the University of Manchester and the Turing Institute, we are co-organising a workshop Robotics and AI for health and social care on 28 – 29 October 2019.

Selected recent publications

Jenkins, S. Draper, H. Care, monitoring and companionship: views on care robots from older people and their carers. International Journal of Social Robotics 2015 DOI 10. 1007/s12369-015-0322-y

Sorell, T., Draper, H. (corresponding author) Robot carers, ethics and older people. Ethics and Information Technology 2014; 16: 183-195 (open access)

Draper, H. Sorell, T. Ethical Values and Social Care Robots for Older People: An International Qualitative Study.’ Ethics and Information Technology doi:10.1007/s10676-016-9413-1 (open access)

Sorell, T. and Draper, H. Second thoughts about privacy, security and deception in robotics. Connection Science 2017 29(3), 217-222. ISSN 0954-0091