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Abstract

COJ Robotics & Artificial Intelligence

Can we Leave Care to Robots? An Explorative Investigation of Moral Evaluations of Care Professionals Regarding Healthcare Robots

Submission: December 15, 2020;Published: February 17, 2021

Abstract

Through a qualitative examination, the moral evaluations of Dutch care professionals regarding healthcare robots for eldercare in terms of biomedical ethical principles and non-utility are researched. Results showed that care professionals primarily focused on maleficence (potential harm done by the robot), deriving from diminishing human contact. Worries about potential maleficence were more pronounced from intermediate compared to higher educated professionals. However, both groups deemed companion robots more beneficiary than devices that monitor and assist, which were deemed potentially harmful physically and psychologically. The perceived utility was not related to the professionals’ moral stances, countering prevailing views. Increasing patient’s autonomy by applying robot care was not part of the discussion and justice as a moral evaluation was rarely mentioned. Awareness of the care professionals’ point of view is important for policymakers, educational institutes, and for developers of healthcare robots to tailor designs to the wants of older adults along with the needs of the much-undervalued eldercare professionals.

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