AgeLab researchers Chaiwoo Lee, PhD, Samantha Brady, and Carley Ward attended the International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in Vancouver, Canada, giving presentations on AgeLab research on the acceptance, adoption, and use of technologies by consumers.
Samantha Brady focused on technology and service usage among family caregivers, using data drawn from the MIT AgeLab’s Caregiver Study. Based on the study results, caregivers are wide users of personal technologies, but they don’t often employ them to facilitate their caregiving responsibilities. Those who did use technology and technology-based services for caregiving found them useful. When they did not utilize a technology or service for caregiving or discontinued usage, it was usually related to a lack of awareness of the technology’s function or issues regarding accessibility (e.g., cost and availability).
Chaiwoo Lee talked about the relationship between age and one’s attitudes and perceptions toward self-driving cars. Older adults are less accepting of autonomous vehicles, with age being inversely correlated with all predictors of one’s willingness to adopt the technology. Experience with technology in general has a significant effect on acceptance of self-driving cars, suggesting an avenue by which older peoples’ perceptions might be readily and constructively influenced.
Carley Ward delved further into attitudes around autonomous vehicles by examining the constructs of risk and benefit perception, knowledge, and trust as predictors of acceptance. Benefit perception was the most important predictor. Because most people have low levels of knowledge about automoated driving, giving people easy-to-understand information on these vehicles may be an optimal way to help them understand their risks and benefits. Older adults, who tend to have a lower than average base of knowledge, held less favorable views of autonomous vehicles, and their greater power as consumers suggest that they may be a particularly important audience to target with information about these new technologies.