Oxford University has called for the ethical and responsible use of AI in social care during a debate on the potential use cases of generative AI within the care sector. 

Representatives of over 30 organisations and individuals came forward to participate in the discussion, which was intended to aid a collective understanding of generative AI. 

Generative AI could offer a variety of benefits to adult social care, including automating tasks for people in social care settings to allow them more autonomy. 

However, Oxford University stated that many day-to-day tasks in social care directly affect a person’s liberty and well-being. The people who receive this care can also frequently be in vulnerable situations. 

There are currently no official regulations on the use of AI in social care, which Oxford University states needs to change in order to properly safeguard the people under the industry’s care. 

Following this debate, a statement has since been released regarding the use of generative AI in social care and has been signed by over 23 of the discussion’s participants. 

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The statement clarifies that there is an “urgent need for to develop a shared, co-produced framework to underpin the ‘responsible use of generative AI’ in adult social care” and calls for social care organisations to research how the technology can be used to augment their work. 

The statement can be found here.  

“Adult social care is about supporting people to live independently and to protect fundamental human rights,” stated Dr Caroline Green, an early career research fellow at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford. 

“The rapid development and wide availability of generative AI, such as AI chatbots, is a concern when it comes to use cases in adult social care settings because some fundamental values defining what quality care looks like are at stake if such technology is used inappropriately,” said Green.