Mobile-centric ambient intelligence in health- and homecare—anticipating ethical and legal challenges

Science and Engineering Ethics 16 (2):303-323 (2010)
Abstract
Ambient Intelligence provides the potential for vast and varied applications, bringing with it both promise and peril. The development of Ambient Intelligence applications poses a number of ethical and legal concerns. Mobile devices are increasingly evolving into tools to orientate in and interact with the environment, thus introducing a user-centric approach to Ambient Intelligence. The MINAmI (Micro-Nano integrated platform for transverse Ambient Intelligence applications) FP6 research project aims at creating core technologies for mobile device based Ambient Intelligence services. In this paper we assess five scenarios that demonstrate forthcoming MINAmI-based applications focusing on healthcare, assistive technology, homecare, and everyday life in general. A legal and ethical analysis of the scenarios is conducted, which reveals various conflicting interests. The paper concludes with some thoughts on drafting ethical guidelines for Ambient Intelligence applications.
Keywords MINAmI project  Ambient intelligence  Data protection  Privacy  Ethical guidelines  eInclusion  Social divide
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