Overcoming carer shortages with care robots: Dynamic value trade-offs in run-time
Keywords:ethics, care, robots, consciousness, VSD, CCVSD
AbstractA rising elderly population and diminishing number of family and professional carers has led to calls for the intervention of care robots. This leaves the quality of robot-delivered care to be determined by designers, for profit companies, nursing codes of practice and conduct, potential user sample groups, etc. What is missing is the carer who consciously makes good ethical decisions during practice. Good care is ‘determinative in practice’. That is, a carer can make good decisions because they are making them within the carer-patient relationship. If a robot is to be capable of good care ethics on the same level as humans, it needs to be conscious and able to make dynamic decisions in practice. Moreover, a care robot must conduct patient interactions in appropriate ways, tailored to the person in its care, at run-time. This is because good care, as well as being determinative in practice, is tailored to the individual. The introduction of robotic care determined by limited stakeholders leaves customised care in danger and instead could potentially turn the quality of elderly care into ‘elderly management’. This study introduces a new care robot framework—the attentive framework—which suggests using care centred value sensitive design (CCVSD) for the design process, as well as a computationally conscious information system (IS) to make practice-determinative decisions in run-time with extrinsic care value ordering. Although VSD has been extensively researched in the IS literature, CCVSD has not. The results of this study suggest that this new care robot framework, which is inspired by CCVSD, is competent in determining good, customised patient care at run-time. The contribution of this study is in its exploration of end-user willingness to trust known AI decisions and unwillingness to trust unknown AI decisions. Moreover, this study signifies the importance of, and desire for, good, customised robot-delivered care.
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