Robots and the Future of Welfare Services: A Finnish Roadmap

Marketta Niemelä (Editor), Sari Heikkinen (Editor), Pertti Koistinen (Editor), Kalle Laakso (Editor), Helinä Melkas (Editor), Ville Kyrki (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Abstract

This roadmap summarises a six-year multidisciplinary research project called Robots and the Future of Welfare Services (ROSE), funded by the Strategic Research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland. The objective of the project was to study the current and expected technical opportunities and applications of robotics in welfare services, particularly in care services for older people. The research was carried out at three levels: individual, organisational and societal. The roadmap provides highlights of the various research activities of ROSE. We have studied the perspectives of older adults and care professionals as users of robots, how care organisations are able to adopt and utilise robots in their services, how technology companies find robots as business opportunity, and how the care robotics innovation ecosystem is evolving. Based on these and other studies, we evaluate the development and use of robots in care for older adults in terms of social, ethical-philosophical and political impacts as well as the public discussion on care robots. It appears that there are many single- or limited-purpose robot applications already commercially available in care services for older adults. To be widely adopted, robots should still increase maturity to be able to meet the requirements of care environments, such as in terms of their ability to move in smaller crowded spaces, easy and natural user interaction, and task flexibility. The roadmap provides visions of what could be technically expected in five and ten years. However, at the same time, organisations’ capabilities of adopting new technology and integrating it into services should be supported for them to be able to realise the potential of robots for the benefits of care workers and older persons, as well as the whole society. This roadmap also provides insight into the wider impacts and risks of robotization in society and how to steer it in a responsible way, presented as eight policy recommendations. We also discuss the ROSE project research as a multidisciplinary activity and present lessons learnt.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAalto University
Number of pages72
ISBN (Electronic)978-952-64-0323-6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesAalto University publication series CROSSOVER
Number4/2021

Keywords

  • Welfare
  • robots
  • automation
  • services

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