IT Professional Practice

IT Professional Practice Scenario

Chosen Scenario 3

Exploring Markets for Assistive Technology for the Elderly

http://onlineethics.org/Topics/Diversity/DiverseEssays/27500.aspx  

This study published by Gendered Innovations describes the following challenge: The world population will age dramatically by 2050. The increasing need for ambulant care and home health services places a growing strain on human caregivers, insurance companies, and social systems. New technologies are needed to support independent living for the elderly.

Social Impact Assessment of Assistive Technology

Executive Summary

This social impact assessment (SIA) attempts to assess the social impact of a particular assistive technology (AT) for the visually impaired community.  It pays particular attention to the context of an aging population and the importance of keeping the elderly independently living from their family homes as long as possible.  It also attempts to consider the social impact of gender specific issues associated with this particular assistive technology.

This SIA looked specifically at the ARGUS visual assistance technology (Otaegui et al., 2012). This particular visual AT utilises a combination …

Background

Over the next 30-50 years it is predicted that the world population will see a dramatic demographic shift to an aging population (Commonwealth of Australia, 2015; Eyre, Spoehr, & Barnett, 2013; Intel, 2013b; Schiebinger, Klinge, Sánchez de Madariaga, Schraudner, & Stefanick, 2015). The strains of such a significant demographic shift  …

Description

This social impact assessment was concerned with the analysis of one AT category as discussed within the Stanford University article Exploring Markets for Assistive Technologies for the Elderly (Schiebinger et al., 2015).  The Stanford article specifically looks briefly at three areas of AT and they are visual; mobility and cognitive assistance.  This social impact assessment looked specifically at the ARGUS visual assistance technology (Otaegui et al., 2012); which is described below. …

ARGUS Visual Assistance Technology

The ARGUS visual assistance technology utilises a combination of different global positioning systems to detect a user’s location, orientation and inertial momentum to accurately guide them along a virtualised pathway …

Physical Structure

A mobile ARGUS device (a modified smartphone) is worn by a visually impaired user that is being assisted (the user).  The ARGUS device can be either body or head mounted (on a cap perhaps for wheelchair use).  The visually impaired person relies …

Logical Structure

The ARGUS system contains these eight main logical components:

  1. user;
  2. user terminal (UT);
  3. user terminal client software (UTS); …

Procedural Elements

The following is a brief but incomplete list of some of the key procedural aspects of the complex ARGUS AT system which include some aspects of the ways in which data are gathered, collated, stored …

Social Aspects

This section is a considered but deliberately incomplete (there are far too many to be exhaustive) list of stakeholders and many of their relationships which utilise the same levels of social analysis shown in

Table 1 – Social opportunity and impact risk assessment: Identified areas of concern below:

  • Individuals
    • non-visually impaired (general citizens of the assessed cultural setting)
    • visually impaired
      • adopters of the AT …

Analysis

The following analysis looks at the duties/ethical issues of the level of social rights in their responsibility to individuals and as a professional the specific areas assessed are tabled in Table 1 – Social opportunity and impact risk assessment: Identified areas of concern below.  This table has columns for the different ethical issues considered as outline further in the Appendix A – SIA Methodology.

  • Individuals
  • Responsibilities as an Individual
  •  Duties:
  • integrity and honesty (do not deceive)
  • to not exploit the visually impaired (abuse of implicit power difference) …
Framework for

Social Opportunity and Impact Risk Assessment

(Huff and Martin 1995)

Topics of Ethical Analysis
ResponsibilityEthical Issues
IndividualProfessionalQuality

of Life

Use of

Power

Risks & ReliabilityProperty

Rights

PrivacyEquity  & AccessHonesty & Deception
Levels of Social AnalysisIndividualsXX       
Communities

& Groups

X        
OrganisationsXX       
CulturesX        
Institutional

Sectors

XX       
Nations         
Global         
Social opportunity and impact risk assessment (Huff & Martin, 1995) Appendix C

Table 1 – Social opportunity and impact risk assessment: Identified areas of concern

There are far too many social relationships at play to fully analyse in depth …w

Identified Benefits

Overall there appear to be strong positive social benefits that justify the adoption of the ARGUS visual AT.  The identified benefits are listed from high likelihood to possible as follows:

  1. Greater independence for the visually impaired (major opportunity) – The ability to navigate without the reliance on the assistance of guide dogs …

.Identified Risks

While the positive benefits appear to significantly outweigh the identified negative risks they are still important to consider in an attempt to find recommendations that may help mitigate these issues.  The negative risks are listed from most likely to least likely order as follows:

2.  Some users will choose not to utilise due to cost; learning requirements; or psychological issues (incidental impact) – As with any new AT …

Social opportunity and risk categorisation
Some users will choose not to utilise due to cost; learning requirements; or psychological issues.Some potential users (possibly more likely women) may choose not to utilise due to visual concerns 
Likelihood of Occurring

 

Less use of other supporting services

(both good and bad)

Unlikely to occur or be an opportunity at either a specific stage of the project lifecycle or more broadly
LOWVery unlikely to occur or be an opportunity at either a specific stage of the project lifecycle or more broadly.Dependency risk due to multiple GPS system or Internet failures rapidly changes user experience.

(e.g. at war)

LOWOpportunity / Impact / ConsequenceHIGH
IncidentalMinorSignificantMajorSevere
 

 

Local, small-scale, easily reversible change on social characteristics or values of the communities of interest or communities can easily adapt or cope with change.

Local small-scale opportunities emanating from the project that the community can readily pursue and capitalise on.

 

Short-term recoverable changes to social characteristics and values of the communities of interest or community has substantial capacity to adapt and cope with change.

Short-term opportunities emanating from the project.

 

Medium-term recoverable changes to social characteristics and values of the communities of interest or community has some capacity to adapt and cope with change.

Medium-term opportunities emanating from the project.

 

Long-term recoverable changes to social characteristics and values of the communities of interest or community has limited capacity to adapt and cope with change.

Long-term opportunities emanating from the project

 

Irreversible changes to social characteristics and values of the communities of interest or community has no capacity to adapt and cope with change.
Legend:Low Social Impact or OpportunityMedium Social Impact or OpportunityHigh Social Impact or Opportunity

Table 2 – Social opportunity and risk categorisation

Social impact assessment guideline  (The Coordinator General, 2013) Appendix D

Recommendations

The significant positive benefits identified coupled with past experiences and the impending need for reducing the dependency of the elderly on in-patient services …

Recommendation 1: Nationalise and standardise a single system

Governments, disability provider groups and health service providers may be tempted to leave the development of these visual AT services to the free market; however…

Recommendation 2: Subsidise the cost

A nationalised system should subsidise the user cost and this will likely be assisted indirectly by …

 Readers Guide

The intended audience of this document is of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professionals and possibly ICT aware health professionals and thus some relevant background are assumed.  However in order to make …

References

Appendix A – SIA Methodology

 

This section describes broadly the methodology used to create this SIA.  According to several sources typically a social impact study or assessment…

 

 

 

 

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