To people living with disabilities, technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI) offer independence, safety, and the privacy that being independent brings. That insight came from a workshop interview that CAST Executive Director and LeadingAge Senior Vice President of Technology Majd Alwan, Ph.D. recently conducted with Brian Bard from the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has released the proceedings in brief from its workshop: “Artificial Intelligence Applications for Older Adults and People with Disabilities: Balancing Safety and Autonomy.” The Forum on Aging, Disability, and Independence hosted the workshop, and LeadingAge was a co-sponsor.
Alwan and Bard presented a session on AI from the consumer perspective. At ACL, Bard runs the Small Business Innovation Research program, which develops technology for older adults and people with disabilities. Bard also described himself as a user of assisted technology for 32 years after a spinal cord injury led to his quadriplegia.

Consumer Benefits of AI

Alwan asked about Bard’s experiences with AI-powered applications such as voice-activated assistive technologies. Bard named autonomous transportation as the biggest thing that he would like to see, noting that the ability to drive is key to his autonomy. Bard described the relief of being able to voice activate his phone from a distance, and he is excited about advances such as robotic arms that may be the first step toward a robot that could lift him.
Bard told Alwan that the independence and safety these technologies offer have the biggest impact on him and his family. Bard believes the benefits of technology outweigh the privacy concerns, because technology gives more independence and more choices. “In a way it actually gives you more privacy because you’re going where you want to go, maybe without everybody in the world having to know,” he said.
To close the session, Alwan and Bard discussed the need to include users and their caregivers in the design and decision-making processes as new AI applications are being developed.
The workshop also covered creating smart communities, including mobility and aging in place; promoting health and well-being and providing care; ensuring peace of mind around the development and use of AI applications; and user-centered design.

Follow AI Advances with LeadingAge and CAST

LeadingAge and CAST are closely following advances in AI-driven technologies, which are growing in senior living and bringing positive results.  
The Technology Innovation Keynote at the upcoming Collaborative Care & Health IT Innovations Summit, to be held June 23-25 in Baltimore, MD, will focus on AI.
Peter Kress, senior vice president and chief information officer at CAST Patron Acts Retirement-Life Communities, Inc., will present AI Applications in Collaborative Care on Monday, June 24 at 4:30 p.m. Alwan will moderate the discussion. Register today to catch this interesting and informative keynote.
In the most recent LeadingAge Leadership Summit, Majd Alwan, Ph.D., CAST executive director, presented various levels of AI-augmented applications in aging services. Electronic health record (EHRs) and workforce applications are at the first level. Then come voice recognition and voice assistants, progressing to facility automation and smart home capabilities, robotics, and self-driving cars. Please see our summary article for more details.
In addition, at last fall's LeadingAge Annual Meeting and EXPO, the Aging Services Technologies track featured “The Intelligent EHR: Improve the Cost and Quality of Care.” This session shared the ways that electronic health record solutions are incorporating artificial intelligence and deep machine learning to guide personalized care decisions. It also covered LeadingAge Gold Partner with CAST Focus MatrixCare’s effort to maximize the patient experience and quality-of-care outcomes through machine-learning toolsets, and it discussed how the increased capability of top-tier cloud computing to manage big data is paving the way for innovation. Please see this article for more details.