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Care Futures: Co-imagining Futures of Care with Generative AI

Yuxi Liu, Aditi Surana, Youngsil Lee, Pamela Gil Salas, Jacob Sheahan

The rising acceptance and use of generative AI tools has the potential to transform design practice and design research. While these tools offer new creative possibilities and modalities for designers to extend their practice, they can further add uncertainty and affect wide-ranging social, cultural, and ethical consequences. Care Futures explores this tension within the context of designing for elderly care.

Using ChatGPT and other image-generation AI tools, we developed eight ‘future of care’ stories showcasing various interactions of older adults with care technologies, exploring complex issues of isolation, empathy, autonomy, and informal care. As part of the outcome, we offer some reflections on the benefits and risks of using generative AI for speculative storytelling, as well as reflections on the care scenarios. Taking the form of a zine, the collection of stories and reflections offer a tangible site for wider discussions.

Through this work, we aim to showcase the urgent need for considerations of bias, ethics, and cultural implications of the technologies we create. We also show how these technologies, particularly generative AIs, spread Western cultural narratives and often ignore experiences falling outside of them. In doing so, we call for design practice to adopt pluralistic approaches to not only design futures for a privileged few, but for all of us.