In September 2016 at the premier HIVE conference, Sarah Susanka HIVE dean and author famous for the Not So Big House series, explored the issue of aging in place. The future of aging in place has a lot to do with creating a sense of community, but will certainly be facilitated by technology.

Richard Adler knows a few things about the uneasy relationship between older adults and technology.

It’s something that Adler, a distinguished research fellow at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, Calif., has been studying for more than 25 years. One thing, in particular, has struck him.

“The truth is that a lot of older adults are technophobes,” he said. “They tend to be classically late adopters of almost any technology." Even though they are the ones with the most to gain from embracing the latest technology, Adler said.

Hesitant About Artificial Intelligence

That wariness may especially be true when it comes to the digital innovation that seems destined to become the next game-changer — artificial intelligence or AI. The name alone conjures up notions of talking robots and other brainy devices. That can seem creepy to older adults, not to mention that the idea of being around thinking machines can make them anxious about losing privacy or perhaps even worse, constantly being reminded of their own slipping cognitive skills.

Actually, artificial intelligence covers a lot of ground. But put simply, “intelligent” machines, instead of just being programmed to do a task step by step, are able to learn by recognizing patterns, classifying data and adjusting to mistakes they make.

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