Rectorate's Programme "RUB International"

International Visiting Fellowship Programme in Medical Ethics Bochum

Prof. Dr. Dr. Vollmann

Aging between Participation and Simulation – Ethical Dimensions of Socially Assistive Technologies (DigitAs)

International Conference for Young Scholars

This project hosts a blog.


German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Project Duration: 2018 - 2019


In future, an increasing number of elderly people will be reliant on the healthcare system. The looming resource crisis will especially affect rights to societal participation, wellbeing and autonomy of the elderly or the impaired. Social assistive technologies such as robot companions or smart screen assistants promise to preserve individual rights by supporting their users in their daily environment. They offer emotional as well as physical care and support. However, social assistive technologies raise difficult ethical questions in regard to their ability to deception. Social assistive devices often create illusions and simulations. They can trick their users into social-like empathic relationships or manipulate their surroundings and beliefs. Isn’t that morally questionable? Should we use such technologies in elderly care? And if we do: How should we use it? In this interdisciplinary conference, the use of simulation and deception in social assistive technologies in care and medicine will be reflected from ethical, legal and socio-cultural perspectives.

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