Oral Presentation Australasian Association of Bioethics & Health Law and New Zealand Bioethics Conference

Ethical issues of social robots in medicine (1080)

Robert Sparrow 1
  1. Monash University, VIC, Australia

In this presentation, I will offer a survey of hopes and fears about the applications of social robots in medicine. What do social robots have to contribute to health care? And what should we be looking out for if we are worried about the ethics of their use? Enthusiasts for social robots have held out the prospect that they will help meet the social, informational, and emotional needs of people entering healthcare contexts as well gather data that may be used to diagnose disease and to promote and monitor public health. I will argue that this claim depends upon implausible assumptions about the capacities of robots and the institutional and economic imperatives operating in contemporary healthcare settings. I will also highlight important concerns about privacy, surveillance, and bias in big data, as well as the risks of over trust in machines, the challenges of transparency, and the ethics of “designing to deceive”.