Care and service providers, nonprofit organizations, corporations, technology companies, government agencies, academicians, venture capitalists and others involved in “charting the future of aging” must “stop looking for the next gadget, app or other easy solution” and collaborate to find new ways to address the complex issues related to aging through technology, according to a new report.

“Separating walls between important collaborators must break down, and quickly, to ensure the cross-fertilization, seamless collaboration and breakthrough innovation necessary to envision any solution,” said the authors of “Outthink Aging,” a report from IBM and the Consumer Technology Association Foundation.

With input from key players, cognitive computing — which IBM defines as “systems that learn at scale, reason with purpose and interact with humans naturally. Rather than being explicitly programmed, they learn and reason from their interactions with us and from their experiences with their environment” — has the potential to prevent elder fraud and abuse, provide greater social connectivity and enhance the analysis of individual requirements, according to the report. Specifically, the authors stated, a cognitive computing platform could:

  • Provide seniors and caregivers with answers to key questions.
  • Provide new insights to nonprofit organizations and others to help them offer products and services that more closely match the needs of older adults.
  • Create a digital community that acts as companion and concierge for older adults and their families.
  • Help financial institutions prevent elder fraud by monitoring, detecting and learning from fraudulent activities.

“Technology does not replace the human element, but it’s a tool that will enable the growing aging demographic and caregivers to better our lives as we age,” said Stephen Ewell, executive director of the CTA Foundation. “New partnerships between industry, nonprofits, academia, government and the general public will form to accomplish these goals.”