This article addresses the topic of healthcare robots and privacy. The choice of healthcare robots comes from the fact that they often deal with extremely sensitive information and very vulnerable population groups: elderly and/or severely ill individuals. In this sense, they present a “worst case scenario” for privacy, where potential privacy intrusions are especially severe. The authors use actor network theory (ANT) to shed light on the privacy implications of healthcare robots from a specific theoretical point of view. ANT is a descriptive, constructivist approach that takes into account the relationality of technology and the social and the agency of objects, concepts and ideas. It has been applied to complex technological innovations, such as e-health systems. The authors use some of the main concepts of ANT–actants, translations, tokens/quasi-objects, punctualization, obligatory passage point–to “map” the privacy ecosystem in robotic healthcare technology, thereby analyzing the complex interplay of robots and humans in that context.
Aurelia Tamò and Christoph Lutz will present Privacy and healthcare robots – An ANT analysis on Saturday, April 2nd at 8:30 AM with discussant Matt Beane at the University of Miami Newman Alumni Center in Coral Gables, Florida.