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Division Biomedical and Public Health Ethics

Research

Ethical aspects of ambient assisted living (AAL)

Age is increasingly defined as a social issue that can be solved through digital technologies. Ambient assisted living (AAL) combines monitoring and sensor technologies with ubiquitous computing and smart home solutions in order to empower older people to remain in their home environment as long as possible. In the process, large amounts of health data and behavioral data are generated and processed by algorithm-based systems. The benefit of remaining in the home environment comes at the price of surveillance and a possible disciplining towards healthy behavior. Additionally, these systems are often based on age scripts that are built around stereotypical concepts of old age and thus may lead to a standardization and normalization. The lack in diversity of these age scripts entails the risk of ageism as well as the discrimination of certain social groups, e.g. elderly people with disabilities or older migrants. Therefore, a philosophically grounded inquiry of the technization of old age is needed as a basis of an ethical analysis of AAL-systems. On the basis of a conceptually and theoretically grounded typology of common age scripts, needs, resources, and possible areas of conflict will be investigated by using methods of empirical ethics.

Ethical requirements for artificial intelligence (AI)-based mental health applications

AI-applications are the core of many mobile apps as well as online therapies based on chatbots. The opportunities of these applications lie in the possibility to facilitate easy access to mental health care services. Given the fact that several mental disorders, especially depression, show a high prevalence, these applications could contribute to an increase in available mental health services. However, it has to be ensured that these systems fit the individual needs and resources of patients. While AI-based technologies are broadly implemented in Scandinavian and Benelux countries as well as in the UK, the uptake in Austria is comparatively low. A further implementation in the Austrian health care system is to be expected in the near future, which makes an early ethical analysis necessary. One goal of this analysis is designing a normative matrix for the ethical evaluation of AI-systems in mental health. Another aim is to analyze the specific opportunities and risks that arise within the Austrian health care system from a public health perspective and compare the results with the situation in other countries.

Events

  1. 15 Dec

    KL Lunchtime Seminar: Towards Natural Killer Cell-Based Immune Therapy in Leukemia

    15. December 2021, 12:00 - 13:00
    Karl Landsteiner University, 3500 Krems/Donau, Wing Y, KL Auditorium
  2. 19 Jan

    KL Lunchtime Seminar: Extramedullary hematopoiesis as part of the innate immune defence against infections

    19. January 2022, 12:00 - 13:00
    Karl Landsteiner University, 3500 Krems/Donau, Wing Y, KL Auditorium
  3. 26 Jan

    KL Lunchtime Seminar: Mechanisms of solute transport through cellular membranes

    26. January 2022, 12:00 - 13:00
    Karl Landsteiner University, 3500 Krems/Donau, Wing Y, KL Auditorium