IT Professional Practice Scenario
Chosen Scenario 3
Exploring Markets for Assistive Technology for the Elderly
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
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 …
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 …
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 …
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 …
The ARGUS system contains these eight main logical components:
- user terminal (UT);
- user terminal client software (UTS); …
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 …
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:
- non-visually impaired (general citizens of the assessed cultural setting)
- visually impaired
- adopters of the AT …
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.
- Responsibilities as an Individual
- integrity and honesty (do not deceive)
- to not exploit the visually impaired (abuse of implicit power difference) …
Social Opportunity and Impact Risk Assessment
(Huff and Martin 1995)
|Topics of Ethical Analysis|
|Risks & Reliability||Property
|Privacy||Equity & Access||Honesty & Deception|
|Levels of Social Analysis||Individuals||X||X|
|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
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:
- Greater independence for the visually impaired (major opportunity) – The ability to navigate without the reliance on the assistance of guide dogs …
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|
|LOW||Very 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)
|LOW||Opportunity / Impact / Consequence||HIGH|
|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 Opportunity||Medium Social Impact or Opportunity||High Social Impact or Opportunity|
Table 2 – Social opportunity and risk categorisation
Social impact assessment guideline (The Coordinator General, 2013) Appendix D
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 …
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 …
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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