Beyond the Hype: ‘Acceptable Futures’ for AI and Robotic Technologies in Healthcare

Giulia De Togni* (Corresponding Author), Sonja Erikainen, Sarah Chan, Sarah Cunningham-Burley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


AI and robotic technologies attract much hype, including utopian and dystopian future visions of technologically driven provision in the health and care sectors. Based on 30 interviews with scientists, clinicians and other stakeholders in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia, and New Zealand, this paper interrogates how those engaged in developing and using AI and robotic applications in health and care characterize their future promise, potential and challenges. We explore the ways in which these professionals articulate and navigate a range of high and low expectations, and promissory and cautionary future visions, around AI and robotic technologies. We argue that, through these articulations and navigations, they construct their own perceptions of socially and ethically ‘acceptable futures’ framed by an ‘ethics of expectations.’ This imbues the envisioned futures with a normative character, articulated in relation to the present context. We build on existing work in the sociology of expectations, aiming to contribute towards better understanding of how technoscientific expectations are navigated and managed by professionals. This is particularly timely since the COVID-19 pandemic gave further momentum to these technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalAI and Society
Early online date22 Apr 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2023


  • AI
  • Hype
  • Robotics
  • expectations
  • Techno scientific imaginaries
  • Healthcare


Dive into the research topics of 'Beyond the Hype: ‘Acceptable Futures’ for AI and Robotic Technologies in Healthcare'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this