Technology, Dog Years & Keeping Up

Technology, Dog Years & Keeping Up

- in January/February 2019, Technology
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A year for your beloved pup is equivalent of a human body maturing 7 years. Dogs’ accelerated maturity life cycle has a parallel in how things mature in the digital world.

Considering the speed in which technology matures, where our lives increasingly revolve around its innovations, there is a pronounced sense of urgency for collaboration. Brain trusts from companies, nonprofits, government, and the public need to collaborate on innovative ways to help our elders: our parents, extended family, and friends.

As we welcome 2019, Tech Talk starts out “unplugged” – an issue relevant to Boomers, seniors, and their sons and daughters alike. The latter demographic, readers of our sister publication Northeast Ohio Parent, perhaps, are vested and well-positioned to secure the wellbeing of Boomers and seniors. Just like Boomers were the innovators of the 20th century, sons and daughters of Boomers are now the instigators and innovators of the 21st century. They possess the ability to influence, aka shape, the competitive markets, translating to increased affordability and accessibility so no one is left behind.

Additionally, philanthropy in traditional disciplines continues to be augmented by digital world-borne tools and ideas. Those sons and daughters who understand the digital world’s prominence in the real and digital worlds we live in, are now in the decision-making roles to maximize the efficacy of philanthropic efforts. In short, sons and daughters can instill meaningful change for our society.

According to its fact sheet, the White House’s Conference on Aging is “the best-known White House conference.” Great, we already have a platform for collaboration and brainstorming. But wait, it only happens every 10 years? I’m sure readers see the challenge as it relates to the digital world where technology-based innovative ideas originate and mature with head-turning speed.

If you Google the factsheet from 2015, Uber is listed under the section titled “Using Technology to Help Older Americans.” I remember this vividly, sharing the informative video on its pilot program for senior transportation with others. I also remember being bummed out that Columbus was chosen over Cleveland as one of the pilot locations.

Uber has had challenges since 2015, but my point is that companies such as Uber were invited to sit at the table at a White House conference to help officials understand how innovation can help older adults in real-world settings. This needs to happen more often than once a decade.

If we take Sears’ longevity, a 20th century innovative company that lasted 120 years in the real world, as the yardstick of success, a currently successful digital world-borne company may last only 17 years. An innovation discussed at a conference held just once every 10 years may be six feet under by the next one.

To make sure innovation continues to include solutions for Boomers and older adults, we must ask our elected officials to organize this conference more frequently. Write, email and call your elected officials and let them know. Post on social media platforms to bring awareness and support to this important matter.

Tak Sato is the founder of the Cleveland-area nonprofit Center for Aging in the Digital World (empowerseniors.org).

 

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