Empowerment or Engagement? Digital Health Technologies for Mental Healthcare

In Christopher Burr & Silvia Milano (eds.), The 2019 Yearbook of the Digital Ethics Lab. pp. 67-88 (2020)
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Abstract

We argue that while digital health technologies (e.g. artificial intelligence, smartphones, and virtual reality) present significant opportunities for improving the delivery of healthcare, key concepts that are used to evaluate and understand their impact can obscure significant ethical issues related to patient engagement and experience. Specifically, we focus on the concept of empowerment and ask whether it is adequate for addressing some significant ethical concerns that relate to digital health technologies for mental healthcare. We frame these concerns using five key ethical principles for AI ethics (i.e. autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, justice, and explicability), which have their roots in the bioethical literature, in order to critically evaluate the role that digital health technologies will have in the future of digital healthcare.

Author Profiles

Christopher Burr
The Alan Turing Institute
Jessica Morley
Oxford University

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