It’s an uninspiring truism to say that technology has changed our lives in ways that we never imagined. But as the iPhone 5 is cheered as one of humanity’s greatest developments since the first slice of bread, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate how. Is technology creating new opportunities for healthy, active and engaged aging? This question may be less fun than asking Siri the meaning of life, but the answer to it may well shape the social and economic success of the twenty-first century and how happy we can be in this new era of older societies.
Our tech-savvy, app-obsessed, 24-hour-plugged-in culture doesn’t seem to care much about how technological innovation can transform population aging from an economic sinkhole into a foundation for growth and shared prosperity. For all the “progressive” and “visionary” mythos that lionize Silicon Valley entrepreneurship, the kids in California are pretty far behind the curve on this one.
Yet, while the iPhone 5 hysteria reached its tipping point, a horde of policy wonks, academics and business leaders got together in Tokyo to ask the right questions about how technological innovation can write a better future for an aging society.
At Waseda University in Tokyo, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) held a joint conference entitled, “Anticipating the Special Needs of the 21st Century Silver Economy: From Smart Technologies to Services Innovation.” The conference may sound less sexy than Apple’s unveiling of the iPhone — and, make no mistake, it was — but its significance might just be even greater. READ MORE.