Intelligent technologies for the aging brain: opportunities and challenges

Ienca, Marcello. Intelligent technologies for the aging brain: opportunities and challenges. 2017, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Medicine.

Available under License CC BY-NC (Attribution-NonCommercial).


Official URL: http://edoc.unibas.ch/diss/DissB_13317

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Intelligent computing is rapidly reshaping healthcare. In light of the global burden of population aging and neurological disorders, dementia and elderly care are among the healthcare sectors that are most likely to benefit from this technological revolution. Trends in artificial intelligence, robotics, ubiquitous computing, neurotechnology and other branches of biomedical engineering are progressively enabling novel opportunities for technology-enhanced care. These Intelligent Assistive Technologies (IATs) open the prospects of supporting older adults with neurocognitive disabilities, maintain their independence, reduce the burden on caregivers and delay the need for long-term care (1, 2). While technology develops fast, yet little knowledge is available to patients and health professionals about the current availability, applicability, and capability of existing IATs. This thesis proposes a state-of-the-art analysis of IATs in dementia and elderly care. Our findings indicate that advances in intelligent technology are resulting in a rapidly expanding number and variety of assistive solutions for older adults and people with neurocognitive disabilities. However, our analysis identifies a number of challenges that negatively affect the optimal deployment and uptake of IATs among target users and care institutions. These include design issues, sub-optimal approaches to product development, translational barriers between lab and clinics, lack of adequate validation and implementation, as well as data security and cyber-risk weaknesses. Additionally, in virtue of their technological novelty, intelligent technologies raise a number of Ethical, Legal and Social Implications (ELSI). Therefore, a significant portion of this thesis is devoted to providing an early ethical Technology Assessment (eTA) of intelligent technology, hence contributing to preparing the terrain for its safe and ethically responsible adoption. This assessment is primarily focused on intelligent technologies at the human-machine interface, as these applications enable an unprecedented exposure of the intimate dimension of individuals to the digital infosphere. Issues of privacy, integrity, equality, and dual-use were addressed at the level of stakeholder analysis, normative ethics and human-rights law. Finally, this thesis is aimed at providing evidence-based recommendations for guiding participatory and responsible development in intelligent technology, and delineating governance strategies that maximize the clinical benefits of IATs for the aging world, while minimizing unintended risks.
Advisors:Elger, Bernice S. and Kressig, Reto W. and Jotterand, Fabrice and Borry, Pascal
Faculties and Departments:08 Cross-disciplinary Subjects > Ethik > Institut für Bio- und Medizinethik > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
03 Faculty of Medicine > Departement Public Health > Ethik in der Medizin > Bio- und Medizinethik (Elger)
UniBasel Contributors:Ienca, Marcello and Kressig, Reto W. and Jotterand, Fabrice
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:13317
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:1 Online-Ressource (439 Seiten)
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:12 Nov 2019 12:30
Deposited On:11 Nov 2019 13:20

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