Design of Robotic Care: Ethical Implications of a Multi-actor Perspective

Martina Čaić*, Stefan Holmlid, Dominik Mahr, Gaby Odekerken-Schröder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The topic of ethically-sound robotic design is timely and societally relevant as service robots have roles with increasingly social demands in diverse service contexts. Robots fill caregiving roles for vulnerable consumers, including older adults and children. This chapter presents an empirical study investigating social and ethical ramifications of robotic elderly care from the perspective of those receiving and those providing care. Consequently, 36 actors (i.e., older adults, informal, and formal caregivers) were interviewed through generative phenomenographic interviews. This approach leveraged data-rich narratives and informant-made visualizations of future networks of care to uncover their expectations and concerns. A multi-actor perspective on the ethical implications of robotic care is captured with three thematic maps built around: (1) assistance, (2) monitoring, and (3) companionship. The results indicate that care robots could improve the wellbeing of older adults and wider care-providing networks through service, constant presence, and increased reliability. However, the visualizations of future robotic care uncovered informants’ latent fears, in addition to ethical concerns found (e.g., decline in agency, loss of privacy, and delusion). For example, formal caregivers who emphasized that they do not fear robots replacing their jobs would not place the robot close to the older person in the visualization of future care constellations. This suggests that although formal caregivers tend to give “desirable” responses in interviews, they are still reluctant to accept robots as care co-providers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationService Design Practices for Healthcare Innovation : Paradigms, Principles, Prospects
EditorsMario A. Pfannstiel, Nataliia Brehmer, Christoph Rasche
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Publication date19.01.2022
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-87272-4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-87273-1
Publication statusPublished - 19.01.2022
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter


  • 512 Business and Management


Dive into the research topics of 'Design of Robotic Care: Ethical Implications of a Multi-actor Perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this