ageist editors | march 15, 2018
HIMSS 2018 conference review
I was asked to deliver a keynote for a session at the HIMSS health conference, which drew 45,000 attendees last week in lovely, sterile Las Vegas. Our breakout was around health, aging and technology. My job was to tell them all about you, our readers, and why you are exceptional — a task all of you make very easy for me. The rest of the session was listening and learning from the fellow speakers and panelists, all of whom were chosen for being top in their field. The most interesting piece of tech was ElliQ, a home assistance robot. Sort of a smarter, nicer, proactive Alexa. At the moment, it’s aimed at the older population. In speaking with Dafna Presler of Intuition Robotics, the idea for the future of ElliQ is for the broader population, and to serve as a digital conductor of all the various appliances, devices and apps. It’s a friendly, fun, little bot and since it is proactive it’s more welcoming than other Alexa-type smart speakers I have seen. As one man who I spoke to said, “I feel like I need the Geek Squad for all the various tech in the house.” As I often said, my favorite piece of tech — and perhaps ElliQ will be — is my toaster. No manual and it just works.
The other fascinating, if disturbing, data came from Charlotte Yee, physician and chief medical officer at AARP. It seems that loneliness is the new smoking. Health outcomes can increasingly be predicted by people’s level of loneliness, which is not the same as isolation. One can be surrounded by people and be lonely, and vice versa. In her opinion, the loneliness epidemic is increasing and is having a material impact on longevity.