Is Privacy a Barrier to Older Adult Adoption of New Technology?

Face it you like your privacy. But little by little you have given it up for a little benefit here, a convenience there. Your life, home, auto and health insurers know a lot about you -- some things you don't even remember or knew were recorded. Schools and employers have a long paper trail that follows you for a life time. Have you ever thought about what your credit cards might say about you? How about what physicians and pharmacists have in their files? And, of course the Internet. For those who share even a little bit on the web it has become clear that there is no erase button for past comments, discussions or photos. 

As we age and look to technology to improve our safety, security and overall well-being another user of personal information will be our homes, cars, maybe even our office chairs. These environments and devices will collect information and enable services that we (or our adult children) will elect to use to monitor, manage and motivate 'healthy' behaviors. These behaviors include the mundane such as making sure that we get up each morning, take our medication or that our refrigerators have fresh nutritious foods. Other systems may be a little more inquisitive monitoring changes in how we walk or fluctuations in our mood by conducting a daily analysis our facial expression each morning in the bathroom mirror. 

As everything gets smarter around us -- from our toilets to our toasters -- will concerns about personal privacy hinder the adoption of technology and technology-enabled services by aging baby boomers?

In this video clip of remarks made at an AARP-Atlantic Monthly Magazine forum on technology and baby boomers I offer some thoughts on the price of privacy.

Related Articles

Human skeletal stem cells isolated in breakthrough discovery

It's a development that could one day lead to much better treatments for osteoporosis, joint damage, and bone fractures.

Image: Nissim Benvenisty
Surprising Science
  • Scientists have isolated skeletal stem cells in adult and fetal bones for the first time.
  • These cells could one day help treat damaged bone and cartilage.
  • The team was able to grow skeletal stem cells from cells found within liposuctioned fat.
Keep reading Show less

How exercise helps your gut bacteria

Gut bacteria play an important role in how you feel and think and how well your body fights off disease. New research shows that exercise can give your gut bacteria a boost.

National Institutes of Health
Surprising Science
  • Two studies from the University of Illinois show that gut bacteria can be changed by exercise alone.
  • Our understanding of how gut bacteria impacts our overall health is an emerging field, and this research sheds light on the many different ways exercise affects your body.
  • Exercising to improve your gut bacteria will prevent diseases and encourage brain health.
Keep reading Show less

Giving octopuses ecstasy reveals surprising link to humans

A groundbreaking new study shows that octopuses seemed to exhibit uncharacteristically social behavior when given MDMA, the psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy.

Image: damn_unique via Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Octopuses, like humans, have genes that seem to code for serotonin transporters.
  • Scientists gave MDMA to octopuses to see whether those genes translated into a binding site for serotonin, which regulates emotions and behavior in humans
  • Octopuses, which are typically asocial creatures, seem to get friendlier while on MDMA, suggesting humans have more in common with the strange invertebrates than previously thought
Keep reading Show less