Responsible Robotics (RR-AI). Tracing Ethical and Social Aspects of AI-Based Transformations in Healthcare Work and Knowledge Environments. (bidt)

The integration of embodied Artificial Intelligence (AI) into healthcare and society is expected to deliver major benefits in future decades. However, innovations such as AI operating robots, AI prosthetics, care- or at some point even micro- and nanorobots will come with a number of ethical, social, political and legal challenges, among them ground-breaking shifts in the work cultures and expertise of medical professionals. These challenges arising from novel divisions of labour between humans and machines need to be addressed proactively if embodied AI is to be implemented into medicine and society successfully and responsibly. While overarching principles such as those by the European High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, or standards such as the ISO for personal care robots have been developed, concrete and fine-grained frameworks for a responsible integration of embodied AI products into healthcare practices and work cultures are still largely missing. There are also no best practice models available for the interdisciplinary development of human-machine applications in biomedicine that take ethical, social and regulatory issues into account.

RR-AI therefore seeks to 1) empirically study the social and ethical and legal dimensions of two novel AI-based technologies – a service robot named GARMI, and a smart arm exoprosthesis – as they are being developed and implemented in healthcare practice; 2) develop a practical toolbox for future interdisciplinary AI innovation, as well as concrete standards and recommendations for responsible integration of embodied AI into healthcare work practice and training; 3) experimentally test these tools and recommendations through interdisciplinary co-creation and work-place integration of embodied AI applications. The project thus takes an innovative “embedded” approach, whereby ethical, social, legal and political analyses constitute integral elements of an AI product design process as well as its work place integration. Project results will be discussed with stakeholders, pilot-tested and disseminated widely.

The project is part of the transdisciplinary consortium “Digitalization” (, which explores questions of the digital transition in economy and work, politics and society, as well as media and public communication. The consortium is funded by the Bavarian Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Within the consortium, the project “Responsible Robotics” is part of the initiative “economy and work”.

Svenja Breuer, Maximilian Braun
Augustenstr. 46, 80333 München

Prof. Dr. Ruth Müller

04.2020 - 04.2023


Bayerisches Forschungsinstitut für digitale Transformation (bidt)