Emerging Technologies for Enrichment in Old Age: A Critical Perspective

Emerging Technologies for Enrichment in Old Age

New information technologies are often hailed as a solution for addressing the so-called challenges of an ageing society. As more people live into their 90s and beyond, many new technologies are being used to monitor and support older adults and to facilitate their care. But new technologies are not only useful for monitoring and care - they are also being used to enrich the social and emotional lives of older adults.

Technologies like virtual reality, social robots, and online games are said to offer social benefits for those in advanced old age. But we have limited knowledge about the issues that can benefit or impede older adults’ experiences with these technologies or even cause harm for vulnerable users. How do we ensure emerging technologies are designed and deployed so they achieve the intended social benefit? How do we avoid situations where technology is experienced as a burden, rather than an opportunity? Answering these questions requires a critical perspective and a detailed examination of both the benefits and the challenges of using emerging technologies for enrichment in old age.

The overall goal of this project is to generate knowledge about older adults’ experiences with emerging technologies used for social and emotional enrichment. Through in-depth investigations, this research program seeks to identify empirically informed strategies for good practice in the design and deployment of emerging technologies for enrichment in old age. Knowledge generated will inform the future ethical design and use of emerging technologies to benefit the social and emotional wellbeing of older adults, particularly those in advanced old age.

Project Information

Funding Source ARC Grant FT170100420
Project Timeframe 2017-2021

Contact Details

Dr Jenny Waycott
Senior Lecturer, Computing & Information Systems

Email
jwaycott@unimelb.edu.au