AAAI Publications, Workshops at the Twenty-Fifth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Ethical Implications of Using the Paro Robot, with a Focus on Dementia Patient Care
Christopher James Calo, Nicholas Hunt-Bull, Lundy Lewis, Ted Metzler

Last modified: 2011-08-24


This paper examines the ability of the Paro robot to improve the lives of elderly dementia patients by applying modern technology to medicine. Paro is not intended to be a replacement for social interaction with people or animals. Some patients who know Paro is a robot still enjoy using the robotic seal, and it can calm patients who are otherwise unreachable. Robots like Paro which mimic the behaviors of pets offer excellent opportunities to connect with challenging patients; however they raise concerns regarding patient rights and autonomy. While such concerns are worthy of consideration, which we discuss in this paper, we nonetheless conclude that the benefits of using such a treatment tool outweigh its potential risks.

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