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computers, broadband, and social networking

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computers, broadband, and social networking

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.

2024 Market Overview Technology for Aging, January, 2024

This report was revised in January of 2024. It was updated to reflect current trends, demographic data about older adults, policy changes, new products and services as well as inclusion of available data about what tech they own and/or prefer. The final section with examples includes 30 offerings and services new for this report, indicated by **.

Five policy changes from 2023 that will drive more tech for older adults

The 2024 Market Overview of Technology for Aging will be published during CES 2024.  As part of that update, it is worth considering changes that occurred in the past year that matter to older adults and families. Caregiving and other demands of an aging population gained significant government attention and new initiatives during 2023. While some of the actions below will require further funding action from Congress, all of these represent forward momentum for long-needed changes. It is likely that technology enablement and access will be components of each of the initiatives as they evolve.  Categories include:

Scam innovation -- moving faster than the speed of regulation

What a week – chaos at OpenAI plus the rise of scam innovation. This weekend exposed a conflict at OpenAI, the November 22, 2022 bringer of ChatGPT, between the board that wants to develop AI for good and perhaps another view, AI for commercial profit.  Sam Altman the founder is fired, begs to come back and instead is offered a job and a team at Microsoft (the other big funder of OpenAI.) He agrees to go to Microsoft and 700 of OpenAI’s 750 employees threaten to quit.  Guess they weren’t big fans of AI for Good.  Microsoft, which committed as much as $10 billion over time for OpenAI, might think AI for Profit might be a better strategy.  Watch for the next installment of this very public soap opera.

Internet access changed everything, including for older adults

What changed in technology adoption of older adults? Ranting about technology adoption 15 years ago, it obviously was a different world.  There were dedicated email devices (Presto, Celery, Mailbug) – clearly the standard personal computer was not too friendly. The Jitterbug phone addressed the problem that cell phones weren’t too friendly, and the concept of ubiquitous access to the Internet through easy-to-use browsers was a glint in the innovator eye.  People still shopped in stores – the Mall of America was thriving compared to strip malls, bookstore sales were at their peak – not yet traumatized by Amazon. Facebook introduced Live Feed, wrecking Myspace.  Banks still had branches, the drop of 1700+ branches hadn’t happened yet, no doubt because the 2008 market crash hadn’t fully kicked in.

Genie Launches AI-Powered App That Achieved 99% Scam Blocking Accuracy 

09/07/2023

Tech startup, Genie, has officially released its smart AI scam Genie Launches AI-Powered App That Achieved 99% Scam Blocking Accuracy and spam call blocking app. After a successful pilot with over 1,000 users, Genie is ready to launch their AI Powered platform across the US. 

Your platform, yourself – the splintering of interaction tool choices

Rant on. So there is an upcoming meeting to attend.  Now let’s see -- will it be conducted in Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, Webex, GoToMeeting or something else?  Will the meeting invite be visible to my calendar, which has Google’s 500 million users – or do I need to place myself on the calendar of the person who asked to speak with me (10 million users) and request that it also be sent to my calendar?  Will it be a short Zoom meeting, cut off abruptly at 40 minutes because the participant leading only has the free version? Or will it be a conference-specific event management technology in which all interactions will be buried inside the must-look-at software?

Did you miss one? Five Aging and Health Tech blog posts March 2023

The future of AI and older adults is now. The hype about ChatGPT and its peers has revolutionized the tech world. And it is clear from current research that this revolution isn’t temporary, nor is it even sudden. Though with its initial user calculation at 100 million, it now appears the fastest growing 'consumer' application in history. And it is fair to say that the applications of it are making its way into the world of older adults, this AARP article describes its uses for older adults in generating a letter to contest a medical bill. And it notes the ability to ‘provide companionship, offer mental stimulation, share stories and experiences, and suggest hobbies and activities.’ Although the article claimed on Feb 28 that there was no mobile version, Bing Chat has this interactive chat built in, including support for multiple languages) and available for any smartphone. And ChatGPT can be accessed through any mobile browser. Here are four other blog posts from March to think about: 

We are all novice technology users on this bus

Accessibility and usability – who knew they were different?  The term (and features) arose from the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, amended by Congress in 2008, when the focus was on reducing/eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities. Although it appeared at the time to be a good start, the amendments were produced after it was clear that the ADA did not (and still does not) fulfill the expectation of enabling individuals with disabilities to participate in all aspects of life.  However, even with the amendments, the job of making locations accessible to those with disabilities, including wheelchairs, left much to be desired, as the AXS map initiative demonstrates. Initially mapping locations in New York City -- the crowd-sourced AXS map was founded by Jason DaSilva and described in the 2013 documentary When I Walk. The crowd-sourced map continues to update accessible locations around the world. And Jason continues to tackle the boundaries and limitations for those with disabilities.

In 2023, The Future of AI and Older Adults is now -- and also up next

The hype about ChatGPT and its peers has revolutionized the tech world.  And it is clear from current research that this revolution isn’t temporary, nor is it even sudden. Though with its initial user calculation at 100 million, it now appears the fastest growing ‘consumer’ application in history.   And it is fair to say that the applications of it are making its way into the world of older adults, this AARP article describes its uses for older adults in generating a letter to contest a medical bill.   And it notes the ability to ‘provide companionship, offer mental stimulation, share stories and experiences, and suggest hobbies and activities.’ Although the article claimed on Feb 28 that there was no mobile version, Bing Search (an alternative mechanism) has this interactive chat built in, including support for  multiple languages) and available for any smartphone. And ChatGPT can be accessed through any mobile browser.

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