Techno-scientific Imaginaries of Socially Assistive Robots (SARs): A Comparative Study of How 'Caring Machines' Shape What It Means to Care


  • Dr Giulia De Togni

    University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Project summary

Robotics is a growing field in the delivery of care, expected to flourish in the face of the need for higher precision, shortages of healthcare personnel, and an increase in the number of older and frailer people. "Socially Assistive Robots" (SARs) have the potential to 'care' for humans through social interaction, physical assistance, and therapy delivery. However, the emergence of 'caring machines' raises ethical, social, and technological questions. Through this research I aim to understand in what ways our identities and care relationships may be affected by the use of SARs and how this may vary in different cultural contexts. I will do so through carrying out interviews with those who are developing robots, health and social care practitioners, and those receiving care; and observations in robotics laboratories and care facilities in two rapidly ageing, highly industrialised countries which are leading in AI and robotics innovation, the UK and Japan.