Ageism and Artificial Intelligence: Protocol for a Scoping Review

Charlene H. Chu, Kathleen Leslie, Jiamin Shi, Rune Nyrup, Andria Bianchi, Shehroz S. Khan, Samira Abbasgholizadeh Rahimi, Alexandra Lyn, Amanda Grenier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a major driver of technological development in the 21st century, yet little attention has been paid to algorithmic biases toward older adults. Objective: This paper documents the search strategy and process for a scoping review exploring how age-related bias is encoded or amplified in AI systems as well as the corresponding legal and ethical implications. Methods: The scoping review follows a 6-stage methodology framework developed by Arksey and O’Malley. The search strategy has been established in 6 databases. We will investigate the legal implications of ageism in AI by searching grey literature databases, targeted websites, and popular search engines and using an iterative search strategy. Studies meet the inclusion criteria if they are in English, peer-reviewed, available electronically in full text, and meet one of the following two additional criteria: (1) include “bias” related to AI in any application (eg, facial recognition) and (2) discuss bias related to the concept of old age or ageism. At least two reviewers will independently conduct the title, abstract, and full-text screening. Search results will be reported using the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews) reporting guideline. We will chart data on a structured form and conduct a thematic analysis to highlight the societal, legal, and ethical implications reported in the literature. Results: The database searches resulted in 7595 records when the searches were piloted in November 2021. The scoping review will be completed by December 2022. Conclusions: The findings will provide interdisciplinary insights into the extent of age-related bias in AI systems. The results will contribute foundational knowledge that can encourage multisectoral cooperation to ensure that AI is developed and deployed in a manner consistent with ethical values and human rights legislation as it relates to an older and aging population. We will publish the review findings in peer-reviewed journals and disseminate the key results with stakeholders via workshops and webinars.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere33211
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun. 2022


  • age-related biases
  • ageism
  • algorithms
  • artificial intelligence
  • ethics
  • gerontology
  • health database
  • human rights
  • search strategy


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