According to a new survey from the European Commission, Danes are the most positive and open-minded towards robots and robotic aids in Europe.
In the survey, Autonomous Systems, from the European Commission, 84 percent of Danes say that they are ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ towards robots and robotic aids. That is the highest positivity rate in Europe. Part of the explanation behind Danes’ open-mindedness can be found in the high exposure to assisted living technologies. Technologies and robotic aids are becoming an increasingly integrated part of the municipal service in Danish municipalities, and according to Local Government Denmark, the interest group and member authority of Danish municipalities, experiencing the technologies as an integrated part of everyday life helps break down prejudice and misconceptions.
Technologies are widespread in municipalities
Assisted living technologies are widespread in the Danish municipalities with many technologies reaching a 90 percent dissemination rate in 2015, according to numbers from Local Government Denmark (LGDK). Especially robot vacuums are widespread with 73 percent of municipalities already employing the technology in their municipal service and 18 percent expecting to employ the technology by the end of 2015. Telehealth and tablet based solutions are expected to be rolled out in 90 percent of Danish municipalities by the end of 2015.
In a survey, published in June 2015, LGDK maps the dissemination of assisted living technology in Danish municipalities. In the survey, 51 pct. of municipalities cite efficiency improvements and considerable economic latitude posed by employing assisted living technologies in the municipal elder care and handicap service as the main incitement and a top priority on the municipal political agenda for 2015. During this year, 80 percent of the Danish municipalities will implement assisted living technologies in elder care and 34 percent will implement assisted living technologies within the social area.
More than economic gains
Economic gains, however, cannot solely explain the Danish favourability towards assisted living technologies and robots. In the survey from LGDK, many municipalities also cite the qualitative gains posed by integrating the technologies. Qualitative gains include increased self-support, independence, safety, and dignity for citizens. In many municipalities, implementing assisted living technologies is seen as a means to be able to deliver good municipal service rather than as a means to save money. Moreover, Danes highly approve of the municipal incentives to incorporate assisted living technologies as 88 percent of Danes agree that robots benefit society because they ‘help people’, according to the report from the European Commission.
A win-win situation
Humans have a basic need to live independently without relying on the help of others. An independent life improves quality of life for citizens and in recent years, the large increase in assisted living technologies and robotic aids help municipalities continuously deliver good and dignified service to citizens despite demographic developments. Therefore, the implementation of assisted living technology in the Danish municipalities can be seen as a win-win situation in the development of the public sector.