Dr. Roger A. Søraa's Keynote: Navigating Care Robots for Older Adults at IEEE RO-MAN 2023

Dr. Roger A. Søraa, from the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), received an invitation to deliver a keynote at the prestigious IEEE RO-MAN 2023 conference, specifically at the workshop “Care Robots for Older Adults.

The title of his keynote speech was “No Care Robots for Older Adults(?).” He delivered a thought-provoking presentation centered around the question of robotic care and its implications. The keynote speaker drew from an extensive body of research conducted under the Robotics4EU project, with collaborative efforts from the LIFEBOTS Exchange and the Caring Futures projects.

In summary, the keynote addressed the paradoxical notion of “No Care Robots for Older Adults,” prompting the audience to critically evaluate preconceived notions and expectations surrounding the role of robotics in elderly care. By presenting the outcomes of the research projects, the presentation encouraged a holistic understanding of care robots, viewing them not merely as functional tools, but as essential pieces in the puzzle of shaping the future landscape of elderly care—a future that demands a delicate balance between technological advancements and the preservation of human connection and empathy.

The research presented focused on ethical, legal, environmental and socio-economic issues that can arise when care robots are being implemented. The RO-MAN annual conference is “a leading forum where state-of-the-art innovative results, the latest developments as well as future perspectives relating to robot and human interactive communication are presented and discussed. The conference covers a wide range of topics related to Robot and Human Interactive Communication, involving theories, methodologies, technologies, empirical and experimental studies.” The conference was in 2023 held in Busan, South Korea, and Dr. Søraa participated in a hybrid fashion.

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