Journal article Open Access

State of the art on ethical, legal, and social issues linked to audio- and video-based AAL solutions

Ake-Kob, Alin; Blazeviciene, Aurelija; Colonna, Liane; Cartolovni, Anto; Dantas, Carina; Fedosov, Anton; Florez-Revuelta, Francisco; Fosch-Villaronga, Eduard; He, Zhicheng; Klimczuk, Andrzej; Kuźmicz, Maksymilian; Lukacs, Adrienn; Lutz, Christoph; Mekovec, Renata; Miguel, Cristina; Mordini, Emilio; Pajalic, Zada; Pierscionek, Barbara Krystyna; Romero, Maria Jose Santofimia; Salah, Albert Ali; Sobecki, Andrzej; Solanas, Agusti; Tamo-Larrieux, Aurelia

Ambient assisted living (AAL) technologies are increasingly presented and sold as essential smart additions to daily life and home environments that will radically transform the healthcare and wellness markets of the future. An ethical approach and a thorough understanding of all ethics in surveillance/monitoring architectures are therefore pressing. AAL poses many ethical challenges raising questions that will affect immediate acceptance and long-term usage. Furthermore, ethical issues emerge from social inequalities and their potential exacerbation by AAL, accentuating the existing access gap between high-income countries (HIC) and low and middle-income countries (LMIC). Legal aspects mainly refer to the adherence to existing legal frameworks and cover issues related to product safety, data protection, cybersecurity, intellectual property, and access to data by public, private, and government bodies. Successful privacy-friendly AAL applications are needed, as the pressure to bring Internet of Things (IoT) devices and ones equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) quickly to market cannot overlook the fact that the environments in which AAL will operate are mostly private (e.g., the home). The social issues focus on the impact of AAL technologies before and after their adoption. Future AAL technologies need to consider all aspects of equality such as gender, race, age and social disadvantages and avoid increasing loneliness and isolation among, e.g. older and frail people. Finally, the current power asymmetries between the target and general populations should not be underestimated nor should the discrepant needs and motivations of the target group and those developing and deploying AAL systems. Whilst AAL technologies provide promising solutions for the health and social care challenges, they are not exempt from ethical, legal and social issues (ELSI). A set of ELSI guidelines is needed to integrate these factors at the research and development stage.
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