By: Anthony Herring
This article continues the subject matter first introduced in “How A.I. Can Improve the Lives of Seniors in Retirement Communities (Part One).”
1 – A Solid Pairing
As mentioned at the end of Part One, A.I. has already been implemented within senior living: two prominent programs are used by retirement communities that are quite beneficial to its residents.
The first program, dubbed “Minerva,” is mentioned by the retirement website myLifeSite in a piece they wrote; the program was created by the tech company TSOLife. Minerva acts as an A.I.-based software that collects data on residents within retirement communities. (Said data is collected with residents’ consent.) This software is in use by the retirement organization known as Benchmark. (The U.S.-based org is responsible for maintaining dozens of smaller communities on the East Coast.) They have a program called “Something in Common,” which is a project that aims to connect residents through mutual interests; Minerva is used to collect data on the residents and find possible matches for them through the project.
The second program, created by the tech company CareSmartz360, is called…well, “CareSmartz360.” This software is based upon A.I., and is used for home care usage within retirement communities. As detailed by the company itself, CareSmartz360 helps residents maintain their daily lives through multiple avenues: sending reminders for taking medicines, providing communication methods with friends and family, etc. Not only that—and this is probably the tool’s most beneficial feature—CareSmartz360 is capable of monitoring residents’ activities, which can potentially prevent emergency situations from happening.
For example, take the passive sensor technology that was discussed in Part One. An A.I. system like CareSmartz360 can be applied within a retirement community as a method both to help detect when a resident is about to fall on the floor or perhaps even predict the likelihood of a resident falling (a similar estimation made for if A.I. was applied to smart tech like Google Home in Part One). Depending on the situation, community staff can enact measures based on what CareSmartz360’s data determines and act accordingly.
2 – Proceed with Caution
As with every new technological advancement, there are grounds for caution—and A.I. is no exception. With the software’s usage growing at a rather alarming rate, it is unsurprising to see that people are worried at how frequently it’s appearing in our day-to-day lives.
Sadly, this means that seniors—the most vulnerable demographic regarding technology—are at great risk. A.I. is an incredibly malleable tool, so much so that it can be manipulated to spread misinformation, which the media company Decrypt has discussed in an article on the subject. The author, Nathan Reiff, notes that artificial intelligence can be used to create false news articles, blog posts, videos, etc., and that among certain circles, these pieces can spread like locusts. If seniors were a part of these groups—or even just generally browsing the Internet—and found these pieces, they might actually believe that they’re real. Now, if their loved ones were able to catch them in time, then they can prevent them from falling for misinformation in the future. (However, if they can’t, then these seniors might fall deeper down the rabbit hole, believing these pieces more and more to the point of disaster.)
Another notable danger is one that hurts everyone: the scam. Scams have grown more sophisticated since the Internet became more prominent in our lives, and unfortunately, they show no signs of stopping—especially when A.I. gets thrown into the mix. A.I. is capable of fabricating voices, so scammers can make it sound like anyone they wish. Their cousin? No problem. President Joe Biden? No brainer. Your little brother? Of course. It is a scary and dangerous practice, and with seniors as more-than-possible victims, they are easy targets.
One particularly troubling scam aimed at seniors is called “the Grandma scam,” which Forbes deliberates on in an article regarding A.I. According to its author, Carolyn Rosenblatt, this scheme involves scammers using A.I. to trick seniors into giving money to their “grandchildren.” The “children” in this instance aren’t that at all, and are actually the scammers using fabricated voices. Since seniors aren’t able to tell that the voices are falsified, they fall right into the trap.
Conclusion – Time Will Tell
A.I. is here to stay, and with it now being a part of senior living, it can be an incredibly helpful tool for seniors. Unfortunately, it is important to remain mindful of how it can be manipulated to harm them, and to take the necessary precautions. We shall see just how far A.I. goes in this industry.
The details present in this blog article were comprised of information gathered from the sources listed below. I want to give credit where credit is due.