Science and Engineering Ethics 19 (2):389-406 (2013)

Demographical changes in high income counties will increase the need of health care services but reduce the number of people to provide them. Welfare technology is launched as an important measure to meet this challenge. As with all types of technologies we must explore its ethical challenges. A literature review reveals that welfare technology is a generic term for a heterogeneous group of technologies and there are few studies documenting their efficacy, effectiveness and efficiency. Many kinds of welfare technology break with the traditional organization of health care. It introduces technology in new areas, such as in private homes, and it provides new functions, e.g. offering social stimuli and entertainment. At the same time welfare technology is developed for groups that traditionally have not been extensive technology users. This raises a series of ethical questions with regard to the development and use of welfare technologies, which are presented in this review. The main challenges identified are: (1) Alienation when advanced technology is used at home, (2) conflicting goals, as welfare technologies have many stakeholders with several ends, (3) respecting confidentiality and privacy when third-party actors are involved, (4) guaranteeing equal access and just distribution, and (5) handling conflicts between instrumental rationality and care in terms of respecting dignity and vulnerability. Addressing these issues is important for developing and implementing welfare technologies in a morally acceptable manner
Keywords Welfare technology  Care  Robots  Communication  Compensation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11948-011-9348-1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 68,908
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Two Cultures.C. P. Snow & Stefan Collini - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
The Two Cultures.C. P. Snow & Stefan Collini - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
Is There a Duty to Die?John Hardwig - 1997 - Hastings Center Report 27 (2):34-42.

View all 32 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Myth of Technology in Health Care.Bjørn Hofmann - 2002 - Science and Engineering Ethics 8 (1):17-29.


Added to PP index

Total views
91 ( #126,396 of 2,497,768 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #72,844 of 2,497,768 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes