Call: Aging between Participation and Simulation: Ethical Dimensions of Socially Assistive Technologies – International Conference of Young Scholars


Aging between Participation and Simulation
Ethical Dimensions of Socially Assistive Technologies

International Conference for Young Scholars
4th – 8th February 2019
Bochum, Germany

Abstract submission deadline: 15 November 2018

In future, an increasing number of elderly people will be reliant on the healthcare system. The emerging resource crisis will affect the right to social participation, wellbeing and autonomy of older or impaired people. Social assistive technologies such as robot companions or smart screen assistants promise to preserve individual rights by supporting their users in their daily environment. They offer emotional as well as physical care and support. However, socially assistive technologies raise difficult ethical questions about their ability to deception. Social assistive devices often create illusions and simulations. They can fool their users into social-like empathic relationships or manipulate their environment and beliefs. Isn’t that morally questionable? Should we use such technologies in the care of elderly? And if we do that: How should we use it? This interdisciplinary conference will reflect on the use of simulation and deception in social assistive technologies in care and medicine from ethical, legal and socio-cultural perspectives.

There will be four workshops as part of the conference. The main conference topics are:

  • Ethical Foundations of social assistive technologies
  • Privacy and its Simulation
  • Self-determination between personal autonomy and socially assistive devices
  • The element of care in social assistive technologies

Speakers and workshop instructors: Prof. Dr. Michael Decker (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology), Prof. Dr. Michael Hübner (Ruhr-University Bochum), Prof. Dr. Dr. Jochen Vollmann (Ruhr-University Bochum).

The interdisciplinary conference addresses early stage researchers (PhD students and postdoctoral researchers) from different disciplines (medical ethics, medicine, law, philosophy, psychology, nursing science, political and social sciences, public health, history). Researchers from different countries (especially Germany, Switzerland and other European countries) are invited to present their research projects, to discuss them with leading experts and to contribute to the interdisciplinary discourse.

Applicants are asked to submit an abstract in English on the topics mentioned above (250-500 words) along with a short CV via e-mail to to arrive by 15 November 2018.

Accepted participants will be asked to give a 25-minute oral presentation, followed by a 30-minute discussion. In addition, all participants are invited to prepare a manuscript and submit it for peer review and publication in a conference volume. The conference language is English. Travel expenses as well as the stay and the meals in Bochum will be reimbursed. In addition, we are able to provide an honorarium of € 300 for the submission of the written contribution. The conference will take place at the Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine at the Ruhr-University Bochum. Arrival of participants is scheduled for Sunday, 3 February.


Please download our call here!


Dr. Joschka Haltaufderheide; tel: +49 (0)234 32-28573
Institute for Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, Ruhr-University Bochum
Malakowturm – Markstrasse 258a, 44799 Bochum, Germany


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