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2024 What's Next Longevity Venture Summit (online)

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Could conversational AI help the tech user experience?

Tech user experiences are deteriorating at a rapid rate – for all.  If you have encountered any of the following, you know.  The absurdity of two-factor authentication within a single device, long complex passwords, five years of remembered password history to prevent re-use.  And that’s before you have logged into a site that could simply be a news media or site or Gmail that just wants to display insulting and absurd ads now that you have been ‘authenticated’. Or you can examine the behavior of the same software applications across multiple devices.  You may have noticed that scam innovation is beginning to outpace the product development cycles in other categories – (although some scammers seem able to be scammed themselves).

Challenging Innovators to Design for Older Adults: 2014 -2024

In the tech innovation world, a decade is both a long and short time.  In 2014, AARP’s Health Innovation @50+ sponsored a report, Challenging Innovators: Matching Offerings to the Needs of Older Adults.  It was published in June of 2014 in conjunction with a Venture Summit event run by Mary Furlong and Associates. This was exactly a decade prior to this year’s What’s Next Longevity Venture Summit. 

Did you miss one? Aging and Health posts from (almost) February 2024

The frustration of the user experience. February was short but busy – but a topic emerged on the last day of January that is beginning to take shape in the form of interviews and insights from others.  All agree that the user experience, whether it is a car, a microwave, Google Gemini or a smartphone is deteriorating, possibly due to nearly-endless but not necessarily useful ‘innovation’ from developers.  Whether it is the ‘cockpit’ of a car that may now have three screens, an authentication process on a website that requires another device, or an app that expects a password that has not been used in the past five years.  Here are the blog posts:

The user experience with Google: You are the product for better or worse

Consider Google and its tightly coupled products.  You launch the search engine on your phone and are surprised to see all of these ‘news’ items about local topics that have appeared in your Gmail inbox. How personalized. A few years ago, a $395 million settlement with 40 states was reached about Google’s lack of clarity about its location tracking, which users thought they had turned off in settings. An apology followed, along with many more lawsuits and fines, including some large ones in Europe. Did anything change? Not really.  In 2024, as a result of European pressure, Google announced how to disconnect some ‘Linked Services’ in Europe, a euphemism for passing your data (you) from one Google product to another, a feature that may appear in the US one day, though will it really change anything? Doubtful.

The User Experience Confounds Cooks, Drivers, and TV Viewers

User experience non-design – it’s not just tech devices – consider the stove’s cockpit.’  Studying the screen plus button choices on a new Microwave, one wonders who tested this interface?  Did they really think that the combinations were self-explanatory and intuitive?   Or is the convention of poor design so inherent in microwave, oven, and washing machine interfaces, that a ‘cockpit’ design is expected (both by the vendor and the user).   Of course, a cockpit is an appropriate term – imagine a pilot sitting down in the left seat of an airplane with zero training on what to touch first.

Who knows the current population and age distribution of older adults?

Publicly available up-to-date stats about the older adult population is weak or non-existent.  The most recent version of ChatGPT admits it cannot state the current population in the US that is aged 75+.  Nor can Google. This is somewhat surprising, given the angst in business and market predictions about the aging of the US population and the potential doom that it portends. But anyway, the answer is buried in Census tables. Would you be surprised to learn that there are 25.7 million people aged 75+ today?  That 14.8 million are women and 10.8 million are men?  Would it surprise that 42% of the 65+ population (60.5 million) is aged 75+?

Did you miss one? – Six Tech and Aging Blog Posts from January 2024

The more things change.  January 2024 brought announcements, updates and a plethora of new tech, some a dream in the eye of a startup, some in the market and some likely to improve lives, if not right away than soon.  In fact, the most intriguing aspect of the month of CES 2024 was how much like previous events it was – and yet it was the first post-Covid big event, and the first for many new to the tech industry. Also 2024 is shaping up to be a big year of change for the older adults-tech market – some actually think it is disappearing into the tech market for all.  Maybe! Here are the six blog posts from January 2024:

The Tech User Experience for Older Adults Needs A Reboot

Is the user experience deteriorating? Tech user experience experts focus on everyone except older adults. But there’s a problem:  from AARP’s tech trends survey from 2024 and their 2023 guidance from AARP on inclusive design practices, it’s clear and as the AARP report notes, “No one prefers badly designed, over-complicated products.”  Despite preferences, surveys show that today’s user experience for older adults is more problematic than ever. All are confronted with buggy software and frequent bug fix releases, such a problem on iPhones that an embarrassed Apple redirected software work towards fixing. And Google is no better with Pixel phones

Five trends that matter for older adults and caregivers in 2024 and beyond

The 2024 Technology and Aging Market Overview is online. It provides new information and insights about trends that drive technology change for the older adult marketplace. They represent the context for understanding new technologies discussed and featured in the report. This year is in many ways unusual -- the oldest baby boomer turns 78, AI investment and interest reached fever pitch, and the annual CES show had its highest turnout, with AI everywhere since 2020. These trends include the possible future role of AI, that can help address workforce issues and provide benefit over the coming months and years:

2024 UPDATE: Market Overview Technology for Aging Now Available

Refresh required.  Each year, the Technology for Aging Market Overview is revised in January of the new year.  This year, that revision is being published right after CES 2024, which featured multiple offerings of possible utility to older adults, especially those with physical limitations.  The purpose of the document, however, is to aggregate and review trends from 2023 that shape 2024, technology changes that matter, and offer, by category, a sampling of products, services, and sites of relevance to the older adult market.  As such, the report is intended for those businesses (for-profit, non-profit) and services that want and need to serve the older adult segment.

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