“Your robot therapist will see you now”: Social Equity and the Rise of Digital Mental Healthcare (Video Available)

Photo of white robot named Pepper with humanistic features

Online via Zoom

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The use of digital technology in mental healthcare has been endorsed by governments and professional associations as a cost-effective and accessible alternative or supplement to face-to-face support. The current pandemic has accelerated this enthusiasm amid the rush to digitalise health and social services.

Yet uncertainty remains about the social, ethical and legal implications of digital technologies, and particularly algorithmic and data-driven technologies, such as those described as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and deep learning.

In this seminar, Dr Piers Gooding discusses his research on the law and politics of ‘digital mental health care’, including the remarkable under-involvement of people who use mental health services, and the potential for such technologies to change how we experience ourselves and the world.


Dr Piers Gooding is a Research Fellow at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and the University of Melbourne Law School, an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow, and a 2020 Mozilla Foundation Fellow. His work focuses on the law and politics of disability, with an increasing focus on digital technology in mental health care. He is the author of A New Era for Mental Health Law and Policy: Supported Decision-Making and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2017) with Cambridge University Press and serves on the editorial board of the International Journal for Mental Health and Capacity Law.