Caring in the in-between: a proposal to introduce responsible AI and robotics to healthcare

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In the scenario of growing polarization of promises and dangers that surround artificial intelligence (AI), how to introduce responsible AI and robotics in healthcare? In this paper, we develop an ethical–political approach to introduce democratic mechanisms to technological development, what we call “Caring in the In-Between”. Focusing on the multiple possibilities for action that emerge in the realm of uncertainty, we propose an ethical and responsible framework focused on care actions in between fears and hopes. Using the theoretical perspective of Science and Technology Studies and empirical research, “Caring in the In-Between” is based on three movements: the first is a change of focus from the world of promises and dangers to the world of uncertainties; the second is a conceptual shift from assuming a relationship with robotics based on a Human–Robot Interaction to another focused on the network in which the robot is embedded (the “Robot Embedded in a Network”); and the last is an ethical shift from a general normative framework to a discussion on the context of use. Based on these suggestions, “Caring in the In-Between” implies institutional challenges, as well as new practices in healthcare systems. It is articulated around three simultaneous processes, each of them related to practical actions in the “in-between” dimensions considered: monitoring relations and caring processes, through public engagement and institutional changes; including concerns and priorities of stakeholders, with the organization of participatory processes and alternative forms of representation; and making fears and hopes commensurable, through the choice of progressive and reversible actions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1685–1695
Number of pages11
JournalAI and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Care robots
  • Ethics of care
  • Measured action
  • Robot embedded in a network (REN)
  • Science and technology studies
  • care robots
  • ethics of care
  • measured action
  • robot embedded in a network (REN)


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