The global population is ageing. Life expectancy has increased to 70 years or more in many countries. In 2020, for the first time in history, individuals aged 60 or older outnumbered children under the age of five.
These remarkable gains are due to improved public health, better nutrition, better healthcare and, most recently, employing technological innovations, big data and artificial intelligence to improve healthy life expectancy and meet the demands of an ageing population.
The rise in new technologies will benefit healthy ageing and longevity by enabling people to live healthier, more fulfilling lives at all ages. For example, technological innovations have been deployed to keep people physically active, enable independent living such as by detecting falls, smart home technology, early detection of diseases and management of disease conditions, maintenance of social connections by reducing social isolation and continued engagement in the workforce, to name a few.
To ensure we reap the benefits of technology on ageing and longevity, we must design technologies that are inclusive and benefit all.
“Ageing in the digital era poses challenges. Many older people have not enjoyed a digital education nor feel at ease with new technologies as younger people do,” says Dubravka Šuica, Vice President for Democracy and Demography at the European Commission.
“However, innovation and technological progress inevitably require all of us to acquaint ourselves with new tools throughout life – no matter our age. These innovative solutions, assistive technologies or digital services tailor-made to the needs and preferences of older people harbor great potential to improve the quality of life and support independent living, also later in life,” Šuica continues.
“To reap those benefits, it is essential to ensure that everyone has the required digital skills – and stays curious.”
We invited members of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Healthy Ageing and Longevity to share ideas on how we can get there – here’s what they said.