Ethical frontiers of ICT and older users: cultural, pragmatic and ethical issues [Book Review]

Ethics and Information Technology 13 (4):313-326 (2011)
The reality of an ageing Europe has called attention to the importance of e-inclusion for a growing population of senior citizens. For some, this may mean closing the digital divide by providing access and support to technologies that increase citizen participation; for others, e-inclusion means access to assistive technologies to facilitate and extend their living independently. These initiatives address a social need and provide economic opportunities for European industry. While undoubtedly desirable, and supported by European Union initiatives, several cultural assumptions or issues related to the initiatives could benefit from fuller examination, as could their practical and ethical implications. This paper begins to consider these theoretical and practical concerns. The first part of the paper examines cultural issues and assumptions relevant to adopting e-technologies, and the ethical principles applied to them. These include (1) the persistence of ageism, even in e-inclusion; (2) different approaches to, and implications of independent living; and (3) the values associated with different ethical principles, given their implications for accountability to older users. The paper then discusses practical issues and ethical concerns that have been raised by the use of smart home and monitoring technologies with older persons. Understanding these assumptions and their implications will allow for more informed choices in promoting ethical application of e-solutions for older persons.
Keywords Ageism   Cultural assumptions   E-inclusion   Ethics   Senior citizens   Smart home and monitoring technologies   Views on independent living   Western views of ethics
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DOI 10.1007/s10676-011-9276-4
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N. Rose (2001). The Politics of Life Itself. Theory, Culture and Society 18 (6):1-30.

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