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Who's in charge of the robot? The ethical challenge of machines in care

Garden Room Park House Birmingham B15 2RT
Lectures Talks and Workshops, Social Sciences
Thursday 20th June 2019 (17:30-19:00)
Download the date to your calendar (.ics file)

Robots are increasingly appearing as a potential answer to the ‘care crisis’many countries. Around the world there are a range of experiments underway applying robotic technologies to various care settings.

Although it is anticipated that many positives will flow from the application of these technologies, they are also likely to generate unexpected consequences and risks. New technologies such as robots are a double-edged sword; offering significant advantages, but with potential misuse or unintended consequences that need careful consideration so that they do not negatively impact particular groups. This talk will explore the use of robots within a range of care settings in the Australian context and highlights ‘dilemmas’ that are faced in this space.  A dilemma refers to a situation in which the perceived failings of governance are in conflict with people’s existing beliefs, and such failures pose dilemmas’  (Bevir and Rhodes 2006). It will propose that care ethics can be a helpful basis through which to consider the associated social and moral boundaries.

Refreshments will be available from 5pm.


Helen Dickinson is Professor of Public Service Research and Director of the Public Service Research Group at the School of Business, University of New South Wales, Canberra.  Her expertise is in public services, particularly in relation to topics such as governance, leadership, commissioning and priority setting and decision-making.  Helen has worked with a range of different levels of government, community organisations and private organisations in Australia, UK, New Zealand and Europe on research and consultancy programmes. 

Catherine Smith is a lecturer and research fellow in the Youth Research Centre at the Melbourne Graduate School of  Education, University of Melbourne.  Her work draws on sociologies of social justice and practice and philosophies of care to analyse  the nexus of politics, policy and practice. With an interest in the effects of disruption, her work has focussed on policies and practice of forced migration, equity and education, wellbeing and resilience, gender identity and new technologies. Its application in teaching, training and research encompasses theories of relationality and reflexivity which drive innovation in teaching and learning across government sectors.

The event is free but please register online if you wish to attend.

This event has been organised by the Department of Social Work & Social Care and the Institute of Local Government Studies.

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