Ethical Design of Intelligent Assistive Technologies for Dementia: A Descriptive Review

Science and Engineering Ethics 24 (4):1035-1055 (2018)
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Abstract

The use of Intelligent Assistive Technology in dementia care opens the prospects of reducing the global burden of dementia and enabling novel opportunities to improve the lives of dementia patients. However, with current adoption rates being reportedly low, the potential of IATs might remain under-expressed as long as the reasons for suboptimal adoption remain unaddressed. Among these, ethical and social considerations are critical. This article reviews the spectrum of IATs for dementia and investigates the prevalence of ethical considerations in the design of current IATs. Our screening shows that a significant portion of current IATs is designed in the absence of explicit ethical considerations. These results suggest that the lack of ethical consideration might be a codeterminant of current structural limitations in the translation of IATs from designing labs to bedside. Based on these data, we call for a coordinated effort to proactively incorporate ethical considerations early in the design and development of new products.

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