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Beginning a Look at The Future of AI and Older Adults 2023

Can tools like ChatGPT and DALL-E be helpful to older adults? Of course, in the ways it can be helpful to any adult. The simple examples – retrieval of information and generated images seem very different from traditional (ad-driven) search tools. Given the early user base of ChatGPT (optimizing language models for dialogue), 100 million within the first few months, clearly developers, investors, and consumers agree. And multiple other companies are jumping into the market, perhaps playing catchup with early entrants. DALL-E (creating images from text captions) and other generative AI have become, uh, visible, and perhaps really useful in film-making and video game development. But how will this category be applied in the older adult marketplace, either for them directly or for those who serve them? 

The rise and rise of generative AI everywhere.  As with all new technologies throughout history, the hype cycle prevails. This is the case with ChatGPT. After a few weeks of enormous optimism (the hype), it is quickly entering the cynical period (overhyped), which could cause it to be overlooked, and then one day, as with voice technology, it becomes just another part of the established technology landscape of benefit to all, built into platforms and systems where users expect this capability and will get it. So it will likely be with the various variants of AI technology, which will likely become dramatically improved in the coming months and years with infusions of investment from firms like Microsoft. Will its answers be distorted by the advertising model that dominates the Internet?  Likely -- but we need to wait and see.

Conversational AI already plays a growing role in care delivery. In Scotland, a conversational AI tool, FitChat, has been developed to encourage older adults to exercise. In India, a conversational AI chatbot was developed for the elderly and disabled. Conversational AI has been used for early detection of depression. Hospitals are turning to AI and chatbots to save money – interactions are expected.  And then there's ChatGPT -- in a class by itself.

Asking ChatGPT its thoughts: ‘What is the Future of AI and Older Adults?’ "The future of AI and older adults is looking increasingly positive, with the technology being used to improve the quality of life for seniors. AI can be used to create personalized health plans, deliver virtual care and assistance, provide remote monitoring, detect cognitive decline and falls, manage medication, and provide social and entertainment activities. AI is also being used to create smarter and more accessible homes, and to develop technology that can be used to help seniors with mobility and transportation." Okay, okay, so it’s a beginning.

[Beginning a new report -- The Future of AI and Older Adults - thoughts welcome]


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