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Experts Call for Responsible Use of Generative AI in Adult Social Care

This month, representatives from 30 organisations and individuals working in adult social care met at the University of Oxford, Reuben College, to discuss the benefits and risks of using ‘generative artificial intelligence (AI)’ in social care.

‘Adult social care is about supporting people to live independently and to protect fundamental human rights. Generative AI offers many potential benefits and opportunities to adult social care. However, 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.

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‘We therefore need to address the gap of knowledge and guidance around generative AI quickly, involving all groups of people who are affected and working in social care provision.’ Said Dr Caroline Green, Early Career Research Fellow at the Institute for Ethics in AI at the University of Oxford and Research Fellow at Reuben College.

Artificial Intelligence offers many opportunities and potential benefits to adult social care. Generative AI, such as Large Language Models (LLMs) that power AI chatbots, can aid with various tasks in social care. However, many activities in social care directly touch on peoples’ human rights and wellbeing. Currently, there are no guidelines for people using social care services, care providers including family carers, tech developers or organisations integrating AI chatbots into their services on what the responsible use of generative AI in social care entails.

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The aim of the event was to articulate a collective understanding of generative AI’s role in social care settings and to discuss its challenges, benefits and viable use cases. There was a core focus on what would constitute responsible and ethical use of this emerging technology.

Following the event a statement has been published which outlines the need for robust and rapid work to co-produce practical guidelines for appropriate usage and deployment of generative AI in social care. In addition, it commits the group to engaging in a co-production and consultation process drawing in more people and organisations in social care.

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