Press Release 05/2019

German Ethics Council discusses ethical challenges of robotics in care

On Wednesday, 26 June 2019, the annual meeting of the German Ethics Council will take place in Berlin, more than 600 participants are expected. The conference can also be followed via video livestream.

"The number of people in need of care will increase dramatically in the future. Care technologies promise ways out of the impending care crisis. In order for this future development to be shaped humanely, we must set the course today in dealing with these technologies," said Council Chairman Peter Dabrock before the start of the conference.

In the course of demographic change, the number of people in need of long-term care in Germany is increasing and long-term care is facing severe personnel and financial shortages. Politics and research are therefore increasingly focusing on robotics projects that promise new technical support options in care. On the one hand, robots are intended to relieve the burden on nursing staff, and, on the other hand, 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 a variety of challenges for nursing work.

At its annual meeting, the German Ethics Council will address the complex ethical issues raised by the use of robotic technologies in care and in particular in nursing for the elderly. Together with scientists from computer science, medicine, psychology, medical ethics, law and cultural anthropology, as well as members of senior citizens’ organisations, the potential and challenges that arise in dealing with new assistive systems for the various target groups in nursing care for the elderly will be discussed. Furthermore, the conference offers the opportunity to get to know specific examples of current robot development and to discuss ethical questions directly with the developers of such technologies.

The lectures and discussion contributions will be held in German or English and will be simultaneously translated. They can also be followed via livestream at Those interested can also join in the discussion at #Pflegerobotik.