Annual Meeting

Care – Robot – Ethics. Ethical Challenges in the Technologisation of Care

KOSMOS Berlin, Karl-Marx-Allee 131A, 10243 Berlin

shutterstock/Roman Samborsky, VTT Studio / Collage:angenehme-gestaltung


The number of people in need of long-term care in Germany is rising. At the same time, there is a severe nursing shortage. In view of demographic change, politics and research are increasingly focusing on robotics projects that promise new technical support options in care. At its annual meeting in 2019, the German Ethics Council will address the complex ethical issues raised by the use of robotic technologies in care and especially in nursing for the elderly. Robots are intended to relieve the burden on nursing staff and to improve the self-determination of those affected. However, mechanical, highly automated access to the lives of those in need of care and the interaction between humans and robots pose new ethical, anthropological and legal challenges for nursing work.

Together with scientists from computer science, medicine, psychology, medical ethics, law and cultural anthropology, it will be discussed which potentials and challenges arise in dealing with new assistive systems for the various target groups in nursing care for the elderly. Furthermore, the conference offers the opportunity to get to know specific examples of current robot development and to get an impression of the manifold potentials in practice. The aim of the conference is to subject care robotics to the following critical ethical reflection:

  • How should a responsible development of human-machine interaction systems be designed?
  • What effects does AI-supported robotics have on the needs of those affected?
  • How does robotics change our social and individual images of people and age?
  • What legal frameworks are needed to protect patients, relatives and caregivers?


Peter Dabrock · Chair of the German Ethics Council

Keynote Lectures
Sami Haddadin · Technical University of Munich
Elisabeth André · University of Augsburg
Aimee van Wynsberghe · Delft University of Technology

Session Chair: Judith Simon · Member of the German Ethics Council

Parcours "Robotics in Nursing Care" (Demonstration of showcase projects of German robotics research)
ARiA, University of Siegen and Kiel University of Applied Sciences
FORMAT, University Hospital Halle (Saale)
Geriatronik, Technical University of Munich
I-CARE, University of Bremen
STARC, OFFIS and Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
RoboLand, Fulda University of Applied Sciences
SeRoDi, Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA
SMiLE, German Aerospace Center, Oberpfaffenhofen

Presentation of the survey "Technology in nursing care – perspectives of professional caregivers on prospects and risks of assistive technologies"
Institute of Medical Sociology and Rehabilitation Science at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in cooperation with the Centre for Quality in Care

Parallel Sessions

Session I: Autonomy with Autonomous Systems? Perspectives of Patients and Relatives
Regina Ammicht Quinn · University of Tübingen
Heidrun Mollenkopf · German National Association of Senior Citizens' Organisations (BAGSO)
Hans-Werner Wahl · Heidelberg University
Session Chair: Adelheid Kuhlmey · Member of the German Ethics Council

Session II: Robotics and Images of Age: Anthropological Perspectives
Cordula Endter · German Centre of Gerontology
Arne Manzeschke · Lutheran University of Applied Sciences in Nuremberg
Mark Schweda · Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Session Chair: Andreas Lob-Hüdepohl · Member of the German Ethics Council

Session III: Robotics in Care from the Perspective of Law and Labour Studies
Helma Bleses · Fulda University of Applied Sciences
Stephan Brandenburg · The Employers' Liability Insurance Association for Medical Services and Welfare Work (BGW)
Gerhard Wagner · Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Session Chair: Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen · Member of the German Ethics Council

Session Reports
Andreas Lob-Hüdepohl, Adelheid Kuhlmey, Elisabeth Steinhagen-Thiessen · Members of the German Ethics Council

Panel Discussion "Care – Robot – Ethics: Shaping the Future Responsibly"
Regina Ammicht Quinn, Helma Bleses, Andreas Kruse, Mark Schweda
Session Chair: Claudia Wiesemann · Vice-Chair of the German Ethics Council

Closing Remarks
Peter Dabrock · Chair of the German Ethics Council