Wir freuen uns sehr, den folgenden Gastbeitrag zu den ethischen Implikationen von intelligenten Assistenztechnologien in der Demenzpflege von unserer Kollegin Frau Dr. Hanan AboJabel in englischer Sprache präsentieren zu dürfen.
Intelligent assistive technology (IAT) is considered an innovative way to reduce the challenges associated with dementia care. Such technology can empower people with dementia (allowing them to live independently, autonomously and with privacy for a longer period of time) as well as their family caregivers (reducing the feeling of burden and worries). Despite these benefits, the willingness of people with dementia and their family caregivers to adopt IAT is still limited. Ethical (including invading the privacy of people with dementia and reducing human connection) and social (economic considerations, stigma, and ageism) issues play an important role in this context.
Indeed, the perception of these issues may be related to cultural orientation. Take, for instance, a study I conducted with my colleague Johannes Welsch as part of the EIDEC-project, in which we compared the attitudes of Israeli and German experts regarding IAT in dementia care. We found that whereas the privacy of people with dementia was most highly prioritized by German experts, Israeli experts prioritized the safety of people with dementia over their privacy. Also, in contrast to German experts, Israeli experts raised a stigma towards people with dementia and saw the limited capacity of people with dementia to interact with technology as a major obstacle to the development and adoption of assistive systems. The differences between the perceptions of German and Israeli experts were explained by the higher emphasis that is put on values of individuality in Germany in comparison with Israel.
Finally, I believe that ethical and social issues as well as cross-cultural values and preferences should guide policymakers and technology developers in designing, developing, and adopting IAT.
Vielen Dank an Hanan AboJabel für die Ausarbeitung dieses Beitrags!