Ethical, Cultural and Social Aspects of Technology

The use of new advanced technologies in the care and support of older adults poses significant social and ethical questions, particularly in areas such as robotics, artificial intelligence and sensors that collect potentially sensitive data. ETHICS-TECH is developing advice and methodology to assist researchers and policymakers who are exploring aging, disability and technology. The research also investigates ethical, privacy, and security factors that are most likely to contribute to disparities in the usage of emerging technologies.

Vision Statement

Workpackage Leads
  • Jeff Jutai, University of Ottawa
  • Jerome Bickenbach, Queen's University


Core Research Projects

Understanding the Issues around Adoption of e-Decision Support for Self-selection of Assistive Technology by Elders – 8.1 AT-SELECT

This project investigates factors that contribute to the adoption of an e-decision assistive technology (AT) tool for older adults and their caregivers. The project has two objectives: 1) to evaluate the feasibility of adapting a U.K. e-decision support system to the English and French Canadian context and 2) to explore the readiness for an e-decision support system for self-selection of AT in Canada. The project will investigate the cultural, ethical and social issues that surround the adoption of such a technology.

Project Leads
  • Claudine Auger, University of Montreal
  • Manon Guay, University of Sherbrooke
Researchers
  • Jeff Jutai, University of Ottawa
  • Jerome Bickenbach, Queen's University

 

Aging, Disability and Technology: A Framework for Research, Implementation and Policy – 8.2 ADT

The current policies for technology funding and services are not coordinated and vary across Canada. This project looks at how assistive technologies are accessed by Canadians. The research team will identify funding and services gaps, and explore ethical, social, and policy issues, including data privacy and confidentiality. They will also work with policymakers, the users of technology, researchers and others to support the development of policies that can improve access to technology in a fair way.

Project Leads
  • Rosalie Wang, University of Toronto
  • Michael Wilson, McMaster University
Researchers
  • Jeff Jutai, University of Ottawa
  • Jerome Bickenbach, Queen's University

 

Privacy, Security, and Ethics of the use of Emerging Technologies: Development and Validation of a Framework for Research and Policy – 8.3 PRIV-SENSE

While millions of Canadians with disabilities use technologies to assist them in their daily lives, users’ concerns about ethics, security and privacy limit the diffusion and adoption of information communication technologies. This project aims to develop a framework to describe the influence of ethical, security and privacy factors in technology adoption. It will be achieved through the creation of a mobile application to promote safe and rational medication use by older adults and people with disabilities.

Project Leads
  • Virginie Cobigo, University of Ottawa
  • Jeff Jutai, University of Ottawa
Researchers
  • Ann Cavoukian, Ryerson University
  • Céline Blanchard, University of Ottawa
  • Jerome Bickenbach, Queen's University
  • Wendy Cukier, Ryerson University
  • Yves Lachapelle, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

 

Implementing Changes in Technology Development Practices that Protects Users’ Security and Privacy – 8.5-CAT

Our aim is to improve the practices of AGE-WELL members when developing technologies so that they become international leaders in ethical development and commercialization of technologies for the elderly with cognitive impairments. Persons with cognitive impairments constitute about a quarter of the aging population. They have trouble remembering, learning, concentrating or making decisions affecting everyday life. They benefit from the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) that are known as cognitive assistive technologies, because of the support they provide to independent living. However, the elderly with cognitive impairments are among the most vulnerable to privacy breaches and their use of technology raises many ethical concerns. For example, many of these individuals misunderstand who has access to the information being recorded by ICT. Currently, safety and monitoring of these individuals supersede privacy considerations. Furthermore, technology developers often lack awareness of the privacy and security regulations, and struggle with applying best practices within a sustainable business plan. We propose an Implementation of Change process, which is a knowledge mobilization process leading to improved professional practices. It is a seven-step process and this grant will fund the first two steps. We will conduct an analysis of AGE-WELL members’ security and privacy practices, and identify areas of improvements and targets for change. This will inform the next steps of the process, and lead to increased awareness of privacy and security regulations and best practices when developing ICT for persons with cognitive impairments. The team includes the AGE-WELL CC1 leads who will use the proposed project as a pilot testing of knowledge mobilization strategies among the network members. This project and the subsequent steps of the model will lead to improved practices among AGE-WELL members and beyond, and will therefore contribute to the creation of technologies that respect the privacy and security of their users.

Project Leads
  • Virginie Cobigo, University of Ottawa
Researchers
  • Amanda Grenier, McMaster University
  • Hajer Chalghoumi, University of Ottawa
  • Jeff Jutai, University of Ottawa
  • Johanna Lake, Unknown
  • Karen Kobayashi, University of Victoria
  • Yves Lachapelle, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières

 

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