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From Assistive to Adaptive: Can We Bring a Strengths-Based Approach to Designing Disability Technology?

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Cultural Robotics: Social Robots and Their Emergent Cultural Ecologies

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Abstract

Assistive technology is often framed as a problem-solving approach to a medical model of disability. When viewed in this way, disability and neurodiversity are pathologised, demanding a ‘cure’ for afflictions that position the person as ‘less than’. In this chapter, we explore the potential of assistive technology to augment and empower the user. We take the position that a strengths based, social model of disability is not only more effective in helping us develop assistive technologies, but it also places the user at the centre of the design process. This community-led approach to research and design recognises the value of lived experience in understanding and overcoming the many mismatches between people with a disability and their environment. In investigating this position, we will look not only at novel research projects with disabled and neurodivergent people, but also the ethics of cultural robotics and AI in human research more broadly. We will question the proposition that emerging technology is being positioned as a ‘silver bullet’ solution to many cognitive impairments and look at a range of embodied human–machine interactions that point to what the future may hold for the field of assistive technology. This chapter will examine a range of perspectives on cultural robotics in therapeutic and educational contexts and include the voices of people for whom these technologies claim to support.

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Correspondence to Scott Andrew Brown .

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Brown, S.A. (2023). From Assistive to Adaptive: Can We Bring a Strengths-Based Approach to Designing Disability Technology?. In: Dunstan, B.J., Koh, J.T.K.V., Turnbull Tillman, D., Brown, S.A. (eds) Cultural Robotics: Social Robots and Their Emergent Cultural Ecologies. Springer Series on Cultural Computing. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-28138-9_7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-28138-9_7

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-031-28137-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-28138-9

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