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Anno LV, n. 229, settembre-dicembre 2020
313World’s population is aging rapidly. This growth in the share of older people goes with a decline of the global average fertility rate, and, on the other hand, with the spread of a new family structure, the so-called nuclear family or single-person household. In order to face these changes and the related problems for the healthcare system, living arrangement and care support for older people have become increasingly important.
Especially in the past decade, new devices have been developed with the aim of improving assistance for the elderly. One example are assistive robots, machines provided with artificial intelligence and human resemblance, which are able to interact with its owner. The use of these kind of robots for assistive purpose is the subject of philosophical and bioethical debate. Nevertheless, we believe that some additional criminological considerations could be useful. Indeed, robots like these, though potentially useful, can be exploited for non-ethical and illegal intents.
In this paper, we will attempt to give a description of assistive robots and of the risks associated with the use of these devices. After this, we will conclude that with the befitted prevention strategies it is possible to stem the tide of criminal misuse of these robots.