The International Society for Gerontechnology held its 10th World Conference in Nice, France, from September 28-30, with the “aim to gather all the actors of technology and services dedicated ageing, mobility, care and quality of life.” AgeLab researchers Chaiwoo Lee, PhD, Michal Isaacson, PhD, Dana Ellis, and Olivia DaDalt participated in the conference.
Lee, Isaacson and Ellis took part in a symposium on the theme of trust and technology adoption from a generational perspective, presenting AgeLab research on the intersecting trends of a rising aging population and recent advances in consumer technology.
Dana Ellis presented data on general trust attitudes across generations and various trust-dilemmas concerning older adults. For example, new or upcoming technologies like home monitoring systems and self-driving cars have the potential to improve the lives of older adults, but if such technologies are not perceived as trustworthy by potential users, they will be sluggishly adopted, and their benefits will be less profound and immediate.
Chaiwoo Lee focused more specifically on generational differences in app adoption and the effect of trust. She described smartphone and app adoption patterns and how trust affects adoption by age and other demographic groups. Older adults were less likely to be smartphone users but are “catching up,” with half of adults over the age of 65 owning a smartphone. The presentation goes on to examine phone usage habits by generation.
Michal Isaacson presented a study in which a group of participants reacted to a home monitoring system. Following the introduction of the system into participants’ homes, researchers interviewed the participants about the perceived benefits of home monitoring systems, their concerns regarding privacy, and communications with family members. Participants were not concerned with their privacy being compromised by the sensor system, and they were willing to share the data collected by the system with family members. But the research also showed that the older adults in the study were not convinced of the value that the sensor system might provide. This lack of conviction raises ethical questions as well as empirical ones: is it ethical to introduce technology that compromises privacy to a person who does not perceive the technology as beneficial? Or is it enough for caregivers or family members of the older adult to perceive the technology as beneficial?
Dr. Lee also gave a presentation on relationships between trust and older adults’ willingness to adopt in-vehicle technologies. What factors influence one’s willingness to relinquish control of a vehicle to a computer system? Does exposure to driver-assistance technology have an effect on one’s trustin the technology? She found that people’s behavioral intention to use in-vehicle technology was strongly affected by trust levels after exposure to related features, but not significantly influenced by their general experience with technology or preconceptions.
Olivia DaDalt presented an e-poster at the conference on generational differences in the use of various forms of communication technologies (e.g., phone, mail, email, texting). She showed that people had distinctive patterns of preferences for how they wanted to hear from significant stakeholders in their lives by generation and by nature of the source. For example, people of all generations preferred most to hear from their doctors by telephone, but when it came to communications from a significant other or close family member, Boomers preferred a phone call, Gen X was more divided between phone call or text, and Millennials preferred receiving a text message.