Ethical issues in AgeTech to support healthy ageing (EAT)


AgeTech refers to the use of emerging and advanced technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, machine learning, e-health, and mobile technologies to support the health, independence and well-being of older people (Sixsmith 2021). AgeTech has been explored in terms of supporting older people to remain at home for longer (Verloo et al., 2020), to provide social connectedness (Baez et al., 2019), support wellbeing (Astell et al., 2016) and mental health (Andrews et al., 2019) and link the older person to their wider community (Fleming et al., 2018). However, the use of technology to provide support older people to age well in place may also bring with it the potential to increase inequalities in access to health and health outcomes for vulnerable and marginalised people. Research has indicated a crucial need to fully understand who and in what ways AgeTech can have both positive benefits for older people or further exacerbate experiences of marginalisation (Sixsmith 2006). A critical discussion of ethical design, digital equity and policy pathways is required if we are to fully understand the positive and negative outcomes and the intended and unintended consequences of AgeTech solutions to drive practical, equitable, and inclusive multilevel solutions to support healthy and active ageing.


The workshop aims to provide a multidisciplinary and critical overview of ethical issues related to the use of AI-based solutions for health care and social support of older people. Specific aims are to:

  • Facilitate deeper understanding and discussion of the “double-edged” nature of technology-based interventions
  • Explore ways that unintended outcomes (e.g. bias) can be mitigated through an “ethical by design” approach
  • Allow time for discussion by workshop participants of emerging themes and issues

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to

  • Key ethical challenges of AI based healthcare solutions for older people
  • Implications of intersectionality for AI-based AgeTech
  • Ethical aspects of complexity management in AI-based AgeTech
  • Case examples of ethical issues in AgeTech
  • Approaches to ethical design and implementation of AgeTech solutions
  • Policy and regulatory aspects
  • Social justice and access to AgeTech
  • Training and awareness raising in ethical issues.

Workshop Organizers

Andrew Sixsmith PhD
Simon Fraser University, Canada

Judith Sixsmith PhD
University of Dundee, Scotland