Cognitive technologies will radically change the future of ageing, offering greater safety, social connectivity and access to personalised information and services.
This will be the central message of Dr Priscilla Rogers, Senior Manager, Cognitive Health and Life Sciences Research, IBM Research Australia in her address to the 2017 ATSE National Technology Challenges Dialogue titled The Crisis in Ageing – Technology to Manage the Challenges in Healthcare which will take place on 14 June 2017 in Brisbane. It will be attended by entrepreneurs, decision makers, government officials, researchers, academics and business leaders to explore the health challenges of Australia’s ageing population.
“The global population of over-65-year-olds will double in the next 20 years, disrupting entire economies as the costs for caring for elders also doubles,” said Dr Rogers, a passionate advocate for data-driven healthcare and pioneering technologies that will transform the healthcare sector.
“Ageing in place is about enabling our seniors to retain their independence and stay in their homes as long as possible, which is fundamental to their long-term health and quality of life. We believe non-intrusive IoT sensors that detect sound, motion and patterns can be coupled with artificial intelligence to reveal holistic behavioural models of individuals. This insight allows family members, doctors and caregivers to proactively monitor the health and well-being of their elder, and with AI, will alert them in real-time to scenarios where the elder may need support.”
Loneliness is also a growing issue among our ageing population, particularly for seniors living in regional areas away from families.
Loneliness in older adults has been shown to have health risks equivalent to those of smoking and diabetes, with an overall 26 percent increase in mortality.
IBM Research globally are exploring how artificial intelligence combined with robotics in the form of an in-home assistant, may not only help monitor vital signs such as heart rate and breathing through visual recognition, but also respond to human emotions through vocal cues and facial expressions.
“Loneliness among our senior community is a growing issue that has implications for personal, economic and societal well-being,” said Rogers.
“We are teaching our Watson AI technology to understand tone and emotion, as well as the ability to see and distinguish between objects or facial expressions. This has a broad range of applications, and when it comes to loneliness among our older adults, we believe this could help our ageing population feel more connected and supported.”