Date
21 July 2017
Technological advances like artificial intelligence, voice recognition and self-driving vehicles could dramatically change the life of the elderly for the better and help them stay active and productive. Photo: internet
Technological advances like artificial intelligence, voice recognition and self-driving vehicles could dramatically change the life of the elderly for the better and help them stay active and productive. Photo: internet

How tech can ease your fears about growing old

Hongkongers are living longer, but that may not be good news for everyone.

Longevity is often associated with bad things.

First, there is the constant fear that our savings may not be enough to cover our expenses after retirement.

And elderly people are often regarded as a burden by society, given the mounting cost of healthcare.

Growing old also implies we may no longer be able to make much of a contribution to society.

But some believe the future could be different, thanks to new technology and devices.

Yat Siu, chief executive officer of Outblaze, is one of them.

Instead of treating people who are 70, 80 or older as a liability, Siu suggested a different angle: how new technology can help unlock their potential even at an advanced age.

“With technology, with artificial intelligence, with these things that don’t require physical strength, what human potential can we unlock that we feel is currently wasted, that we are not doing anything with?” Siu said in a conference last year.

There could be devices that can be connected to the brain, and transportation is not going to be the same with self-driving vehicles, he said.

The elderly could become mentors or offer “some kind of wisdom that can be had, some kind of brain power that can be extracted”.

“All these things present an opportunity for the next billion people at or over 65,” Siu said.

There are about 500 million people around the world at or over the age of 65.

By 2025, that number will go up by 1 billion to 1.5 billion people, Siu said, citing World Health Organization figures.

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FL

EJ Insight writer

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