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The Future of Technology, Social Media and Ageing


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The Future of Technology, Social Media and Ageing

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  2. 2. This  is  Barbara.  Barbara  came  to  Australia  with  her  husband  a7er  growing  up  in  Germany  during  the  Nazi  occupa>on.  Her  husband  passed  away  two  years  ago,  and  she  now  lives  by  herself  in  her  own  home.  She  is  very  socially  isolated  and  doesn’t  leave  the  house  accept  to  do  shopping.  Once  a  week,  she  talks  to  her  daughter  on  Skype  once  a  week  and  emails  her.  This  is  her  main  social  connec>on.  Without  her  computer,  Barbara  would  have  liHle  personal  connec>on  in  her  life  and  certainly  wouldn’t  be  able  to  remain  in  regular  contact  with  her  daughter.  When  exploring  future  opportuni>es  with  technology,  social  media  and  ageing,  there  are  a  couple  of  important  reali>es  that  need  to  be  unpacked…   2  
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  4. 4. We  know  that  our  popula>on  is  ageing.  Every  stat,  every  study,  every  indicator  demonstrates  this.  Public  policy  is  changing  to  reflect  this  –  a7er  all  by  2031  over  a  quarter  Australians  of  vo>ng  age  will  be  65  and  above.  This  is  important  to  consider  when  thinking  about  the  future  poli>cal  climate  and  its  impact  on  policy  development.  The  Australian  Bureau  of  Sta>s>cs  projects  that  the  propor>on  of  people  aged  65  and  over  will  grow  from  12.4%  in  2001  to  24.2%  in  2051.  Judith  Healy  from  Australian  Na>onal  University,  in  her  2004  paper  “ The  benefits  of  an  Ageing  Popula>on”  suggests  that  the  challenge  for  the  21st  century  is  to  make  these  added  years  of  life  in  old  age  as  healthy  and  produc>ve  as  possible,  a  challenge  of  global  significance  since  by  2020  the  world  popula>on  of  people  aged  65  years  and  over  is  expected  to  treble  (UN  Popula>on  Division  2001).  The  environmental  consensus  is  that  the  combina>on  of  popula>on  growth  and  intensified  economic  ac>vity  is  outstripping  the  world’s  carrying  capacity  and  needs  stabilizing  as  a  maHer  of  urgency  (Raven  2002).  The  world  is  set  on  an  ageing  course  and  governments  will  need  to  include,  not  exclude,  older  people  when  developing  socially  sa>sfying  and  economically  sustainable  socie>es.  This  interna>onal  perspec>ve  is  key  as  technology  sits  in  an  global  space.   4  
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  6. 6. This  is  a  >meline  of  Sony  and  television:  Over  138  years  we  went  from  the  discovery  of  photoconduc>vity  of  selenium  in  1873,  through  to  the  inven>on  of  the  first  electromechanical  television  in  1925,  some  twenty  years  later  we  see  the  emergence  of  colour  TV,  then  30  years  later  video  tapes,  and  so  on…  This  is  a  world  of  technological  development  that  many  older  Australians  experienced  first  hand  before  their  eyes.  It  characterizes  how  many  understand  and  have  experienced  the  rate  of  growth  of  technology.  It  also  dispels  the  theory  that  that  older  ci>zens  are  unable  to  engage  with  technological  development  –  anyone  who  has  tried  to  get  between  my  grandma  and  the  Foxtel  remote  when  Bold  and  the  Beau>ful  is  on  can  tes>fy  to  this.   6  
  7. 7. The  difference  between  now  and  then  can  be  seen  here  in  this  >meline  of  technological  advances  in  the  Internet  over  the  from  2000  to  2008.  In  8  years,  we’ve  seen  the  web  transform  from  output  based  viewing  interface  to  a  genera>ve  tool.  From  10s  of  gigabytes  storage  to  cloud  compu>ng.  Dial  up  to  NBN.  We’ve  gone  from  SMS  to  VOIP,  text  based  discussion  forums  to  webinars,  video  conferencing  and  Google  Docs…  Technology  is  evolving  faster  than  ever  before.  As  soon  as  one  thing  is  released,  there  is  something  else  wai>ng  in  the  wings  to  eclipse  it.   7  
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  9. 9. Anthony  Bradley  from  Gartner  Research,  defines  social  media  as  a  set  of  technologies  and  channels  targeted  at  forming  and  enabling  a  poten>ally  massive  community  of  par>cipants  to  produc>vely  collaborate.  IT  tools  to  support  collabora>on  have  existed  for  decades.  But  social-­‐media  technologies,  such  as  social  networking,  wikis  and  blogs,  enable  collabora>on  on  a  much  grander  scale  and  support  tapping  the  power  of  the  collec>ve  in  ways  previously  unachievable.  He  goes  on  to  argue  that  there  are  six  core  principles  which  underlie  the  value  of  social-­‐media  solu>ons,  and,  in  combina>on,  serve  as  the  defining  characteris>cs  that  set  social  media  apart  from  other  forms  of  communica>on  and  collabora>on:  -­‐Par>cipa>on  -­‐Collec>ve  -­‐Transparency  -­‐Independence  -­‐Persistence  -­‐Emergence  Par>cipa>on  Successful  social-­‐media  solu>ons  tap  into  the  power  of  mass  collabora>on  through  user  par>cipa>on.  The  only  way  to  achieve  substan>al  benefits  from  social  media  is  by  mobilizing  the  community  to  contribute.  You  can’t  capture  the  “wisdom  of  the  crowds”  if  the  crowds  don’t  par>cipate.    Collec>ve  Varied  defini>ons  and  applica>ons  of  the  term  “collec>ve”  abound  and  cover  a  wide  spectrum  of  meanings.  Here,  as  a  core  principle  of  social  media,  the  use  of  the  term  “collec>ve”  is  >ghtly  aligned  with  its  root  origins  “to  collect.”  With  social  media,  par>cipants  “collect”  around  a  unifying  en>ty.  People  collect  around  the  Facebook  social  graph  to  contribute  their  profile  informa>on.  People  collect  on  Wikipedia  to  add  encyclopedia  ar>cles.  People  collect  on  YouTube  to  share  videos.  In  these  examples,  as  in  all  social  media,  people  collect  around  the  content  to  contribute  rather  than  individually  create  the  content  and  distribute  it.  Transparency  With  social  media,  it  is  not  enough  to  collect  par>cipant  contribu>ons.  A  social-­‐media  solu>on  also  provides  transparency  in  that  par>cipants  are  privy  to  each  other’s  par>cipa>on.  They  get  to  see,  use,  reuse,  augment,  validate,  cri>que  and  rate  each  other’s  contribu>ons.  Without  transparency,  there  is  no  par>cipant  collabora>on  on  content.  It  is  in  this  transparency  that  the  community  improves  content,  unifies  informa>on,  self-­‐governs,  self-­‐corrects,  evolves,  creates  emergence  and  otherwise  propels  its  own  advancement.  Independence  The  principle  of  independence  means  that  any  par>cipant  can  contribute  completely  independent  of  any  other  par>cipant.  This  is  also  called  any>me,  anyplace  collabora>on.  Par>cipants  can  collaborate  no  maHer  where  they  are  or  whoever  else  may  be  pos>ng  content  at  that  >me.  Generally,  there  is  no  workflow  or  document  check-­‐in/check-­‐out  that  can  boHleneck  collabora>on  and  impact  the  scalability  required  for  mass  collabora>on.  No  coordina>on  between  collaborators  is  required.  Persistence  With  social  media,  the  fruits  of  par>cipant  contribu>ons  are  captured  in  a  persistent  state  for  others  to  view,  share  and  augment.  This  is  one  of  the  more  obvious  principles.  It  differen>ates  social  media  from  synchronous  conversa>onal  interac>ons,  where  much  of  the  informa>on  exchanged  is  either  lost  or  captured,  most  o7en  only  in  part,  as  an  addi>onal  scribing  ac>vity.  Emergence  The  emergence  principle  embodies  the  recogni>on  that  you  can’t  predict,  model,  design  and  control  all  human  collabora>ve  interac>ons  and  op>mize  them  as  you  would  a  fixed  business  process.  It  is  the  recogni>on  that  one  benefit  of  social  media  is  as  an  environment  for  social  structures  to  emerge.  These  structures  may  be  latent  or  hidden  organiza>onal  structures,  exper>se,  work  processes,  content  organiza>on,  informa>on  taxonomies,  and  more.   9  
  10. 10. Understanding  and  unpacking  these  reali>es  is  cri>cal  when  considering  the  future  of  technology,  social  media  and  ageing.  The  rate  of  growth  in  technology  and  social  media  is  having  a  major  effect  on  the  way  we  live  like  never  before.  We  now  have  a  culture  whereby  our  ac>vity  as  human  beings  is  being  shaped,  molded  and  informed  by  technological  development.  Human  society  is  undergoing  con>nuous  development  through  the  harnessing  of  informa>on  and  knowledge  in  the  form  of  various  technologies  which  have  affected  our  value  systems,  power  structures,  everyday  rou>nes  and  environment.  This  sociocultural  evolu>on  (and  in  some  ways  revolu>on)  requires  us  to  understand  and  find  a  new  equilibrium.  We  o7en  hear  of  terms  such  as  ac>ve  ageing,  the  current  policy  of  the  World  Health  Organisa>on.  This  technological  reality  we  live  in  provides  us  with  an  unparalleled  opportunity  for  older  ci>zens  to  achieve  meaningful  social,  economic,  cultural,  spiritual  and  civic  outcomes.  The  other  opportunity  that  exists  is  from  the  clinical  perspec>ve.  What  opportuni>es  exist  to  leverage  technology  to  delay  cogni>ve  degenera>on,  much  in  the  same  way  we  use  technology  to  enhance  cogni>ve  development  in  children  and  young  people.  So  how  do  we  tap  into  this  opportunity?   10  
  11. 11. At  The  Australian  Centre  for  Social  Innova>on,  we  have  a  core  belief  that  experimenta>on  and  learning  are  the  only  ways  to  reinvent  or  create  anew  the  ins>tu>ons  that  support  our  society’s  objec>ves.   11  
  12. 12. Social  innova>on  provides  an  opportunity  for  people and communities effected bya particular social issue to be the architects of possible solutions.Our partnership with the Media Resource Centre and Helping Hand Aged Carehighlights the leadership of these two organisations in engaging users inexploring the application of new technologies and social media in ageing.(NOTE: Gail from MRC and Helen from Helping Hand used their own slides /notes – visit and forinformation on their work. Specific info on Aged Care Digital Lifestyles can befound at 12  
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