Responsibility for Assisted Living Technologies
Product Assessment Frameworks and Responsible Research
The approach to innovations known as Responsible research and innovation (RRI) aims to move the innovation system towards creating products that strive to realize social values along with economic benefits. This paper discusses the systematic assessment of assistive technologies in order for them to meet the aims expressed in RRI. A central issue in the discussion is how to facilitate an integration of insights from the discourse on RRI with more established assessment approaches such as Health Technology Assessment (HTA). Based on the literature on existing socio-ethical assessment tools, I investigate how these tools can be combined with HTA and how they can add perspectives from RRI that might increase the socio-ethical value of assistive technologies. Through a discussion on how to understand RRI, HTA, assessment and integration, I suggest a list of four possible approaches that have the potential to be applied as assessment approaches that integrate insights from RRI and HTA. These are then evaluated on their ability to address issues that have emerged from a literature review on RRI and assistive technologies, on empirical studies in this technology field and on their product focus. In conclusion, I argue that the Ethical Impact Assessment, the Socratic approach, the Ethical Matrix, and the HTA Core Model seem to be the most promising methodologies, but that these need adjustments to cover substantive themes from RRI.
Keywords: energy scenarios, justice, future generations, capabilities approach