The robot in the kitchen: The cultural politics of care-work and the development of in-home assistive technology

This paper considers two trends at opposite ends of the new economy: low-paid in-home care work, and the development of high-tech “social” robots. At present, the work of caring for the elderly, disabled, and convalescents is done primarily by women (disproportionately women of color) in the space of the home (Pratt, 1999). Meanwhile, in robotics…

Robots against infectious diseases

Robots can play an integral role in the fight against infectious diseases. Robots, unlike humans, cannot catch infectious diseases; unlike vaccines, they are agnostic to specific infectious agents; unlike antibiotics, they do not contribute to medically-resistant strains. Despite these benefits, there remain enormous technical, cultural, and social-psychological challenges to successfully deploy robots in the fight…