Demands of Dignity in Robotic Care: Recognizing Vulnerability, Agency, and Subjectivity in Robot-based, Robot-assisted, and Teleoperated Elderly Care

Arto Laitinen, Marketta Niemelä, Jari Pirhonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Having a sense of dignity is one of the core emotions in human life. Is our dignity, and accordingly also our sense of dignity under threat in elderly care, especially in robotic care? How can robotic care support or challenge human dignity in elderly care? The answer will depend on whether it is robot-based, robot-assisted, or teleoperated care that is at stake. Further, the demands and realizations of human dignity have to be distinguished. The demands to respect humans are based on human dignity and the inalienable high and equal moral standing that everyone has. For human moral agents, these demands take the form of negative and positive duties. For robots, they arguably take the form of corresponding ought-to-be norms. The realizations of dignity consist in variable responses to these demands, by oneself by others, and by society at large. This article examines how robot-based, robot-assisted, and teleoperated care can amount to realizations of dignity. The varieties of robotic care can, in different ways, be responsive to the demands of dignity and recognize humans as vulnerable beings with needs, as autonomous agents, and as rational subjects of experience, emotion, and thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)366-401
Number of pages36
JournalTechné: Research in Philosophy and Technology
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • care robotics
  • elderly care
  • human dignity
  • vulnerability
  • agency
  • cognitive capacities
  • subjectivity

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