Current publications

Schicktanz, S., Schweda, M. (2021): Aging 4.0? Rethinking the ethical framing of technology‐assisted eldercare. History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences.43: 93. DOI: 10.1007/s40656-021-00447-x

Abstract: Technological approaches are increasingly discussed as a solution for the provision of support in activities of daily living as well as in medical and nursing care for older people. The development and implementation of such assistive tech- nologies for eldercare raise manifold ethical, legal, and social questions. The discus- sion of these questions is influenced by theoretical perspectives and approaches from medical and nursing ethics, especially the principlist framework of autonomy, non- maleficence, beneficence, and justice. Tying in with previous criticism, the present contribution is taking these principles as a starting point and as a frame of reference to be critically re-examined. It thus aims to outline how existing ethical frameworks need to be extended or reconsidered to capture the ethical issues posed by techno- logical developments regarding care for older people. In a first step, we provide a brief overview of assistive technologies in eldercare according to their purposes and functions. In the next step, we discuss how the questions and problems raised by new technologies in eldercare call for an expansion, re-interpretation, and revision of the principlist framework. We underline that the inclusion of ethical perspectives from engineering and computer science as well as a closer consideration of socio- political dimensions and fundamental anthropological and praxeological questions are needed.


Schweda, M., Schicktanz, S. (2021): Ethische Aspekte co-intelligenter Assistenztechnologien in der Versorgung von Menschen mit Demenz. Psychiatrische Praxis.48: 01. 3741. DOI: 10.1055/a-1369-3178

Abstract: Smart assistive technologies are increasingly discussed as a solution for the care of people with dementia. The article considers central ethical challenges of the use of such systems. It focuses on issues of privacy and empowerment.


Krohm, Sabrina (2021): ‚Female‘ Care and ‚Male‘ Technology? Pflege und technische Assistenzsysteme aus Sicht beruflich Pflegender - Eine explorative qualitative Interviewstudie. Download Poster.

Abstract: The aim of the study was an explorative investigation of the view of professional caregivers on care and technical assistance systems for people with dementia with a focus on the relevance of gender and gender stereotypes. For this purpose, 21 guided expert interviews with professional caregivers were conducted, which were analyzed using a structuring qualitative content analysis. Results: Gender stereotypes and the topic of gender were brought up by the interviewed nurses primarily in connection with interest in and competence in technology, but also in the context of intimate care, external appearance, and physical strength. Latently, gender also plays a role in the context of ideals of good nursing care. Thus, these are often linked to the emphasis on empathy, communication, and the component of emotional labor, which at the same time are stereotypically attributed to women in particular. Here, nurses emphasize above all social and emotional aspects in nursing actions. Furthermore, communication and interaction with patients and residents and loneliness of those in need of care, especially in the home, are addressed. For some caregivers, this conflicts with the use of certain assistive systems that could not perform this socio-emotional level of care. This is contrasted with the potential gain in autonomy and privacy for those affected. However, especially with regard to the use of technology, caregivers also see age and generational affiliation as important influencing factors. Especially in the interaction of elderly persons in need of care with physical robots, excessive demands and fears are predicted. This is related in particular to generational affiliation, which is why the systems could only be successfully established in practice in a few years or decades when the generation of digital natives reaches the age of needing care. By contrast, the use of technologies such as positioning systems, which do not require complex operation by the persons concerned themselves or do not substitute any nursing activities on humans, is assessed quite positively across the board.


Schweda, M., Kirste, T., Hein, A., Teipel, S., Schicktanz, S. (2019): The emergence of co-intelligent monitoring and assistive technologies in dementia care - an outline of technological trends and ethical aspects. Bioethica Forum 12 (1/2). 29–37.

Abstract: This contribution explores ethical aspects of co-intelligent monitoring and assistive technologies in dementia care (CIMADeC). The aim is to provide an outline of central practical problems and ethically relevant questions. A particular focus is on two crucial issues in the development of such systems for the vulnerable group of people with dementia: pri-vacy and empowerment. We first give an overview of the state of the art of technology development in the field of CIMADeC. On this basis, we turn to the ethical debate on assistive technologies in the context of dementia in order to extrapolate ethical aspects and open questions of this emerging form of dementia care. Against the backdrop of a general overview of ethical issues, the analysis takes a closer look at problems of privacy and empowerment. The discussion stresses the relevance of interdisciplinary co-operation between engineering, care and ethics. A crucial question is how ethical concerns of users and other stakeholders can be included in the spirit of participatory technology development.