2015 White House Conference on Aging

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Nora Super and others at Listening Sessions 2014

16. July 2015 16:31
by WHCOA Blog Contributor
3 Comments

The future of aging and technology

16. July 2015 16:31 by WHCOA Blog Contributor | 3 Comments

By Susannah Fox, CTO of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

You might be wondering why a Chief Technology Officer would be part of a conference on aging. Isn’t tech a young person’s game?

First of all, I love Alan Kay’s definition: Technology is anything invented after you were born.

Second, my grandmother, who used a CB radio in the 1970s and bought one of the first Apple computers in the 1980s, inspires a different point of view. When I showed her the internet in 1995, she said, “I was born too soon.” Then she proved herself wrong by living another 11 years, a daily internet user. I learned to never assume that someone’s age determines his or her interest in or affinity for technology.

I also believe we can learn from older adults and their use of technology. Studies show that if a website is optimized for older users, younger users benefit too. When I was building online tools, I would bring my laptop over to my grandmother’s house in Baltimore. She was my best beta tester. If it didn’t make sense to her, I would change the navigation.