The digital inclusion of older persons is a challenge for governments, corporations and advocates as aging demographics grow at a fast pace alongside digital transformations in all sectors of society. This session will examine current initiatives to address those challenges and the emergence of a Universal Human Rights framework for Older Persons. The panel will explore how accessibility good practices, technology solutions and standards and policies will have to evolve to address the digital inclusion of older persons and how this will impact the accessibility profession and ecosystem.

Session Chair: Frances West, Founder, FrancesWestCo.; G3ict Committee on Digital Inclusion and Accessibility for Older Persons, and IAAP East Asia Liaison; Author of Authentic Inclusion™: Drives Disruptive Innovation


  • H.E. Ambassador Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, President, Global Initiative on Ageing Foundation (GIA); G3ict Chair of the Board; and UNITAR Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • Bianca Prins, Global Head of Accessibility, ING Global Business Accessibility
  • Michael Phillips, Director, Technology Strategy and Relationships, AARP
  • Gary Aussant, Director, Digital Accessibility Consulting, Perkins Access
  • Daniel Frank, MSCS, MBA, CPWA, IAAP Global Leadership Council

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OCTOBER 11, 2023

2:45 P.M. ET
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FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Welcome back, everyone. Welcome back for this new panel discussion; Aging and Technology Policies: The Emergence of a Universal Human Rights Framework for Older Persons, moderated by Frances West, founder of Frances West Company. Thank you.

FRANCES WEST: Good afternoon. Thank you for coming to our session. I know it is 2:30 or 2:45 and it is mid afternoon second day. Might get a little tired. But I can assure you it is going to be an exciting discussion here. My name is Frances West. I'm the founder of Frances West Company. I have been coming to MEnabling for the last 11 years. Prior to 2016 I came as chief accessibility officer of IBM. Post 2016 I came as a technologist that accessibility is a way of expressing or technology can be expressed as a human first thinking and also actioning. So if you look around this world today, it is actually quite decisive. What happened on Saturday in Israel and what's happening in our own country here shows a lot of divide. And many of us in the disability world know that in the past five or six, seven years there actually was a great movement, for example, DEI. But then at the same time it seems like the DEI having a backward moment. There is a lot of the antirogue discussions and all that. So actually made me think a lot because my work at IBM was based on IBM research and we always looked beyond the horizon and to think about what the technology impact of humanity. And so it is not an accident that we started the accessibility journey almost 24 years ago. We have come to realize that despite all these divisions and also to some extent labeling. I'm Asian. And Ambassadors, I guess Latino, and then, you know, white European I guess. And so on and so forth. But there are two things that cut across all "labels" that bring us together as a common ground. And that is age, and ability. So I think it is very fitting that we're today sitting on this panel as we, you know, experience the kind of division in the world that we come together to talk about how are we going to leverage or amplify the common element that we all as a human have which is we are all going to be able and our ability is going to transition or change over time. So today we have a great panel to talk about this topic of aging and technology from different perspectives. And I will make one more comment, for those of you who are big business, especially tech business, historically a lot of the big business don't get involved in advocacy work, right? Business is business. Nonprofit they do their thing. But what I learned in my 20 year journey is that accessibility just like poverty, education, these are big societal problems. And that it is not something you can just calculate your way out of it. Even if you have quantum technology or blockchain. It's one of those situations where you actually need human insight. We need to count on people like the nonprofit and organizations like the United Nations to really help us to think how do we create a framework that can be adopted and replicated and scaled. We got involved in the CRPD in 2005, UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. I'm going to ask Ambassador Gallegos to share the Human Rights Treaty for older persons. I'm going to ask a good friend of mine, Ing, in Europe and in the world, too. She is the head of the accessibility. After that, since we're talking about aging, Michael Phillips, and being naturally partnering in certain extent for the past few years, he is from AARP. How many of you are AARP members? Or eligible for a membership but haven't signed up yet? This is your audience right here. So Michael is responsible for digital technology strategy at the AARP corporate level. And then we are going to have Gary Aussant, and he is a director of digital accessibility consulting at Perkins Access. And he came from a UX background. Last but not least, Daniel Frank, MSCS, MBA, CPWA, IAAP Global Leadership Council. He is a professional in the financial sector services. He has dedicated his professional journey in understanding not just, you know, the application of accessibility but some of the mentality or attitudinal aspect. And have done a lot of research. So you are going to hear from his perspective how we think about aging and also digital inclusion. So with that, I'm going to ask the audience to really give your own introduction and maybe comment on your work today and how it is relevant to this topic of aging and also digital inclusion. 
Ambassador, please.

LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA: Thank you very much. It is a pleasure and honor to be here. I'm also the Chair of the Board of Trustees of G3ict. We created this with Axel when the CRPD was being approved in 2006. And the CRPD is a paradigm shift from a social to a social Human Rights model that projects the rights of 1.3 billion Persons with Disabilities. When we were negotiating the CRPD we included an Article on accessibility with a lot of foresight from the negotiators that included the technology. Technology has made an extraordinary change. It is making a daily change in the lives of society. You are either born with a disability or you acquired a disability during your life by many circumstances, by accidents, by war, by sickness. Certainly when you age you will have the possibility of having a very high possibility because all of those passed 65 like I am will have an 85% possibility of having a disability. The paradigm shift we are living in is that we are a billion people who are beyond 65 years old. We're more we're more older persons than children being born at this moment. 
The progression is that we will be 1.7 to 2 billion people beyond 65 by the year 2050. If you measure, two persons for every person with a disability, or you measure two persons as an impact group of any adult, you will have a number that's close to 6 billion people by the year 2050. We see an elaborate mechanism of discrimination. Unfortunately because the paradigm was not there when these legal entities ascribed limitations. For example, beyond 65, your bank will easily loan you money. Your expectations of life have changed. At this present moment, normally it takes a person 30 years of his time in his life to educate himself, get the master's degrees or the Ph.D.s he needs to live to have an adequate education to compete in the world market. And you work until you are 65 or 70, and then you retire and you live another 30 years. Now that calculation was not there when they built this structure. So the our purpose is to have a UN Convention on to protect and promote the rights of persons who are aging. That means that we want an international instrument similar to the CRPD in order to have a construction of a rightsbased world. We are at the point of having at this point we have 65 countries that have said that they would be willing to back this initiative. We are working to get 120 countries in Europe and in Asia, fundamentally because of the paradigm shift. As we age, and this is my personal example of this, you will have a disability. I had cataracts. I will tell you my story because I would like to end on that. I had cataracts and I went to my optician. I can't give you a certificate to drive if you don't get an operation for the cataracts. I sat down and he said would you like to see without glasses. I have used glasses for 60 years. I was 72 at the time of the operation. And I said sure. And so he implanted multifocal lenses. And now I don't use glasses. And I would like to use that example because that's technology. That's called technology. But when we talk about digital technology accessibility, we have the same problems in that group of aging persons that we have in the general accessibility realm. And technologies that to be able to help them and to better their lives and capacity of working. I'll stop there because I think that that is my elevator speech on the issue of inviting all of you, because each one of you will age. That is if you are lucky enough, you will age with dignity. And this is about dignity. Where we are trying to do is end our lives with dignity. Thank you very much.

FRANCES WEST: This is not about them. It's about us. We are being very selfish here. Bianca, Ambassador Luis Gallegos Chiriboga using banking as an example. Can you share your perspective and the opportunity that lies ahead of us.

BIANCA PRINS: I'm going to keep it a bit shorter. Recently the deaf authority for financial markets published a report, that 2.6 million people in the Netherlands actually experience barriers in digital banking. And given the fact that during COVID a lot of the banks actually closed their branches. More and more people are driven to digital banking services. This includes the elderly. One of the things that's often forgotten which I find out is that the elderly are a hugely important target group for banks. Because it is the people who started their bank account when they started their careers and they save money upon. And they are highly valuable for the banks. We want to keep these people. They have money that we can loan to businesses. It's a very simple economic story. When it comes to accessibility, elderly benefit highly in accessibility. It is from easy navigation to making the ability or Zoom opportunity, read out loud software. I think what's often forgotten that when we talk about accessibility, we have the we are talking about helping people. Supporting people and providing people to welcome people with a disability. When it comes to elderly and banking we often see that people experience digital illiteracy or limited digital skills. This group really requires a different approach. And that's why we are happy to be on this panel because based on my experience and the things that I saw in this report which was sent out by financial markets, they combined disability and digital literacy which led to a lot of confusion. And I am actually proposing to divide these in a concept which is called access to. And access to is really about digital literacy and helping people by guiding them through the system to be able to bank in a secure and safe way but also make sure that people understand what they are doing. And that's why I'm happy to be on this panel. Thank you.

FRANCES WEST: Thank you very much for that. Actually emphasis of the difference access to and then the digital literacy. Michael, I know, I mean AARP, the biggest, 30 million members. 34 million growing every day. In the United States for those of you who don't know, I think that every day there are 10,000 people turning age 65 or something like that. So the Baby Boomer tsunami is definitely in play here. Could you share from your perspective, what you have in terms of experience with your constituency? What's their expectation of digital accessibility? And also for this audience we have a lot of technologists. What will be some of the highlights to share for us to either think about or take action on?

MICHAEL PHILLIPS: Yeah. I think there is two big Titanic shifts going on in the world now. One is a technology revolution and an aging evolution. We are going to hit 2 billion people over the age of 65, which is unprecedented to have that older adult be a percentage of the older population. And with COVID and the pandemic and the lockdowns it was a significant inflection point. The numbers are almost the same for online access as younger adults. 90% have a mobile device. 98% have some device that gets on the Internet. When we look a little bit deeper we see the usage is not always the same. We hear people say 68% of AARP members say they don't feel like the technology is designed for them. When we ask about that it is the whole end to end user experience. What about help, my specific situations, my abilities. On a global level and the Ambassador was talk as he was talking I was thinking about this audacious goal that the UN SecretaryGeneral put out into the world that every man and child be connected to the Internet by 2030. It is going to be hard to get all the 2 billion older adults over the age of 65 connected in a meaningful way if we are not focused on the experience. And making sure that it is meaningful. We at AARP have been working with experts like you in the field to really understand how can we help support making sure everyone is connected in a meaningful way that provides access to essential services, innovations, and connection which is what everyone is striving for.

FRANCES WEST: Yeah, I know that in our conversation I mean, of course, this universal design or this focus on experiences, you know, is talked about a lot. But I know AARP, you are really focusing on how do we scale it. It is one thing to do it oneoff, one company, or one city at a time but how do you scale to 34 million people and growing. And that is really it sometimes requires actually a different way of thinking of solving the problem. 
And since we're on the topic of universal design, my next panelist, Gary from Perkins school and I know that you actually came, you were the designer first, person and then kind of moved into accessibility. So would love to hear from you in your journey of a transition from actually a UX, kind of a more generic UX experience over to the digital accessibility space.

GARY AUSSANT: As many of us on the stage come from a financial services background and that's where my career started in financial services, at a company called Fidelity Investments. Financial services, many of the engaged customers are older. People have more time to save money. They have more time to develop assets. And now they're approaching retirement. They have to start thinking about okay, how do I make this money last. So in the usability lab we would constantly see what we would call "accessibility" issues. You know, low color contrast text, people having difficulty, you know, just really like navigating with a mouse and clicking like small click targets. And, you know, that was my background just thinking about like accessibility really is like part of the user experience. It is if you think of user experience as a pyramid, accessibility is at the bottom. The first thing you have to do is be able to access a product. Now once you access the product that doesn't necessarily mean that you can use it. It doesn't mean that it is useful. It doesn't mean it might be enjoyable or satisfying. If you think of accessibility as the basis of that pyramid we have to start thinking about how do we move, you know, the needle to making experiences better for everyone. And I think one of the challenges that we have in the field today is that especially in the context of older users, is that we had a tremendous age gap between designers and users. On one hand we have designers. Many of them are digital natives. I think the average age of an IT worker is like late 30s, early 40s. And all designers have subconscious bias. They are designing for themselves. They don't realize that they're doing that. But they are. They all have their own, you know, abilities and experiences and context. And so unless companies are being intentional about their processes and how they create experiences, they are going to continue to build products that don't work for the end users as you mentioned, you know, many older people are engaged now. But they feel like there is inertia there. They try to use a product and it doesn't work. And they very quickly give up. And a lot of those things are accessibility issues. But they are also user experience and usability issues. We need to start thinking more about not just about the products, are the products accessible. Do they meet WCAG. But also about how are we building those products. What's the process of getting to that. And we need to include more people with disabilities in the process. More people, aging individuals and usability testing. And also including people who are older and have disabilities in the product design process itself. Like as employees. As people in those product teams. And so we really need to start thinking about that and kind of looking forward and thinking about how we are building things and not just what we are building.

FRANCES WEST: I want to share that Fidelity is the IBM pension administrator. And I use their screen every day. And I will also say that as I when I retire from IBM there are other financial institutions, not that I have a lot of net worth but they are calling to want me to switch over. And the user experience actually of Fidelity, the mobile apps, was one thing that kept me staying because it was actually quite intuitive. And I didn't want to move because of that reason. Because I'm used to that like experience. What you also you just mentioned that, you know, a lot of the design are actually Gen Z, but millennial and (?). We are in a very interesting time. This is the first time in history we have five people in the workforce. We have the traditionalist, our President Biden belongs to that group. And then you have the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Gen Zers and millenials. You have a different design cut across a different kind of experience and base, it is going to without any without some kind of intentional guidance or purpose, we could go just a little while. So with that I'm going to pass on to Dan. You in addition to your professional work, you actually have an academic research background. And I would love to hear from you in terms of your perspective on your practical daytoday day job and then also maybe give us some contextual insight based on some of the research that you have done.

DANIEL FRANK: So I'm going to address one of the big insights that I really come to in the last few years which is and really builds on what everyone else has talked about in terms of the fact that older people may need different digital experiences for various reasons. I think there is a lot of opportunity to improve designs, to have more usability research around better digital experiences for older people. But one of the things I have really found is that there are a certain number of older people who were really never able to fluently use technology. And I often one of the I was really fortunate to have a personal experience. My own father always wanted to learn to use a computer. So he wasn't technology resistant. He totally wanted to use computers. And he took courses and bought computers. Whenever I would visit I would get roped in as the computer teacher. And he could never master. When we are called upon to provide equal access and that's really kind of what this is all about to ensure that people have access to the kinds of products and services that everyone else does, that we have to look at kind of the entire delivery process. And besides my academic background, after academics I went into product management. That's looking at not just the thing itself but how do you find out about it, how do you get customer service for it. And those processes we have to look at those both in terms of having better digital processes for all kinds of user communities. But also when do we have to provide out of band processes of the oldfashioned kind like mail or telephone or personal service. Those are important from a disability standpoint because we may need them to have to provide reasonable accommodations that you cannot provide otherwise. But also because for an older population, it may be the only way that they can really acquire and get service on products.

FRANCES WEST: Yeah. I remember when we were kind of working on trying to kind of systemize a model to say okay, what does accessibility mean at the different phases. And one of our researchers put out this beautiful model that said there is the compliance which is at the base level and then next level is usability. Because you are compliant doesn't mean they are useable. Because it is useable it doesn't mean you have the life or experience. The third level experience. But the fourth level, the ultimate level is what we call the whole life, which is really the contextual level if you think about it. What you just shared is like, you know, going back to Bianca's point there is access to and then there is understanding of the digital literacy, but then you also have to surround it with all the contextual empathy in this case. So that to give different alternatives, based on the personal preference. So Ambassador, I'm going to come back to you. So, you know, what extent, I know that you with this aging aging initiative, that you actually are very involved with an organization like the UNITAR, The United Nations Institute of Training and Research. To what extent do you feel UNITAR and how important it is, the knowledge transfer occurs in this context?

LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA: Thank you. I have to confess that I'm also the President of the board of UNITAR. So UNITAR is The United Nations Institute for Training and Research. It trains around half a million people a year on different subject matters that deal from crisis management to technology. I think that it is a joint effort. The High Commissioner for Human Rights on the 1st of October just mentioned that the need for these countries to get together and negotiate a Treaty that would guarantee the rights of persons who are ageing. I will put a couple of examples of that. Because I think that I began my journey into the subject matter because first I'm aging. So I'm extremely interested in this. It is not only the usability that you have in these modern operandis that you carry in your hand which is not only a phone, a computer, communicator and banking system. I travel a lot and some of the times that I went into problems because of nonharmonization of technologies, so when I go to a country that you can only pay with your phone, with an account in that country you have a problem. I will tell you one of my examples and one of them has to do with banking. Because I was working in Spain when a gentleman went to an ATM machine and couldn't get his money from his retirement fund. And he created a movement and you need 800,000 signatures for Parliament to change. A lot of people in that situation. There is a tendency of ageing in Europe very, very, very important. And I was having dinner with a young group of people in Madrid and one of them said I signed the petition this morning. And I said, you know, why did you sign the petition for older people to get access to banking? He said if my father can't get his money from the ATM machine, it becomes my problem. 


LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA: So they did that, and they had my second example of technology is that we are not limited to operandis and banks and this type of thing. I was marvelled with an example I had in Beijing the other day. They showed me a startup that has an extraordinary capability of having individual autonomy living in your own space in your own home and adapted your home to extended technology. Technology linked with medical care. You have your own nurse. You have your own doctor. You press a screen. And you have a digital entertainment. You can communicate with your family. You can you can do all this. As you know China has an extraordinary problem with population because they had a one child policy for many years. And then you have an extended problem because you have one child in charge of two adults who are parents and two grandparents on one side and two grandparents on the other side. They have adapted apartments to have sensors. When you walk, when you wake up at night the lights turn on. You are guided to the bathroom. The whole thing speaks to you and making your life liveable. That's how I think technology will move in the aging circuit. You have a very dense population of people who are aging and that require technology in all aspects. And as we move forward with Artificial Intelligence I think that's the way we have to guarantee livelihood, sustainability and adaptability of the workplace. Very similar to what we did with disability, we need to do with persons who are going to age and they will be aging in the billions. And I think that's the challenge that technology brings to the developers, innovators of the world to look into this problem because many do not foresee or have not seen the capabilities of this group. And I think Michael put it very adequately, you have an aging population that has the resources, has the capabilities but have limitation. So simplify the technology. Make it adaptable. And these people will be working until the '80s or '90s and that's what we are seeing in the political sphere. I invite you to think about the possibility and the Convention will guarantee that possibility.

FRANCES WEST: We are talking about aging and technology. We made a fundamental assumption that older people want to learn technology. I'm going to put it on the table. Does the research prove that they want to learn technology? And also is there a difference between, for example, Europe or United States, are there any global indicators that point to the contrary, so that we have to be mindful?

MICHAEL PHILLIPS: That's a great question. In Developing Nations including the United States, there is a lot of data that says older adults want to use technology at the same rates as younger adults. They want to adopt new technology. They want to be part of the innovations. They want to learn new things. That's another big difference between older users and younger users. Older users feel like they are learning a new skill when they learn online banking or order dog food online. And they want to share that skill. There is a lot of evidence we have and I don't have the figures off the top of my head about how people want to learn. People want to be taught. They don't care if it is by a bot or a family member or a class. They want structured learning so that they can learn these skills and continue to do it. I think younger adults often are a lot more comfortable with downloading an app and trial and error and discarding if it is not a good fit. I think it is a really good fit. I think the interesting thing is what we hear over and over from codesign sessions and feedback sessions and surveys we're doing, is that in order to adopt the services that are out there, older adults, more than younger adults are looking for somebody to ask questions to. It is okay if it is a bot if they have can answer my questions. It is okay if it's not a live person. David was talking about the end to end experience and having to have that seamless experience, it is where to go for help because people who may not have grown up with the technology in their pocket come to the technology, adopt it differently. The No. 1 thing we tell companies that we work with in codesign sessions and feedback, feedback sessions, and it is that's not that that's not revolutionary. I know that many in this community has been talking about this for decades. I want to point one thing, Frances, you put it so adeptly in your book that you wrote, that it is a mindset shift at the top. And, you know, we can talk a lot about how developers and product teams and marketers and trainers can help with help support inclusion and accessibility. But it has to come from a mindset at the top and be part of business objectives for it to be effective. And thank you for pointing that out.

FRANCES WEST: Thank you for that reference. To me like I said I'm not a I kind of I always say I'm an accidental accessibility person. I was doing business, you know, sales and marketing mainstream business for 25 years. And then I had an opportunity to go into IBM research and head of the accessibility center. At that time I didn't know what accessibility was. I thought I joined the availability center. And so I had to learn everything. And a couple things that I learned was, No. 1, like I mentioned intuitively I knew that I didn't because I didn't know anything, I need the expert. So actually reach out and work with advocacy groups like American Foundation of the Blind, American Association of People with Disabilities. This is about 20 years ago. Back then, business and advocacy groups don't quite work together. I'm glad I follow my instincts because I gained a lot of insight. Second thing, this is an opportunity area. This is a market expansion area. This is talent acquisition. I remember the first briefing we did was with NASA. And NASA 20 years ago was beginning to worry about the engineers, you know, because these think about it. This is mission critical. Failure is no option. It is not like today's model, fail quick, fail fast or fail early. Throw it out to the customer. Let them tell you what's wrong with it. You don't do that with NASA projects. We think about seniors and always think about health care, very set topics. There is statistics that senior joy, joy related activities. It will hit 77 trillion dollars versus the 33 trillion dollars that Gen Z will bring. Remember the Kardashian lipsticks only add up to be 33 trillion. But the senior joy could be 77 trillion. So immense amount of business opportunities. To what extent, I'm going to actually have the opportunity to ask, we have three bankers in a way, former banker, Gary, you are now with Perkins. In your work, does your bank or does the institution or the private sector, are they beginning to have that awareness? And if yes, you know, what else can we do to amplify that? If no, what can we as a group, you know, do to help enlighten the senior executives in this area?

GARY AUSSANT: I do think that companies are starting to see the business behind, you know, the purchasing power of individuals who are older. I think certain industries are much more focused on it. Health care, financial services, and so they are starting to see it. I think where it's being it has become challenging is that it is the how. It is like what do we do. Like we have a lot of clients that come to us that say, we want to do the right thing. We are not just going for compliance. We are trying to create an optimal user experience for our customers. But how do we do it? What do we do? We go back to thinking about WCAG. How long have we been talking, we all know the solutions to sort of making a website accessible. Right? They have been there for a while. But yet 98% of the home pages like on the Web have accessibility issues, right? So it is really getting to like how do we do this. And I think, you know, particularly with private companies, you know, we really need to take I think some, you know, feedback from like what has happened in the public sector. So there is policies, right? There is procurement Section 508, procurement policies. We did some testing at Perkins on voting systems. And voting systems are mandated by the Help America Vote Act to meet certain requirements. Including making sure those systems are tested with individuals who have disabilities. We need to have private companies like look at their policies and say you know what, we are going to make sure every new product we are creating to go through usability testing. And to include people end users in that process. And by having those like policies and look at those policies and making sure we are including as many people as possible in that, following an inclusive design process. Then we are going to start to see a lot more success. And, you know, where we are going with all the products that are out there, that are really critical to, you know, being successful in the workplace and aging in place and being able to do things on your own and live an independent life.

FRANCES WEST: Great. So Dan, let me ask you a question about, so this is, you know, we talked about kind of a workplace that how the, you know, the aging as a population actually can be a huge contributor to the knowledge, the insight. And yet there are ongoing kind of, you know, ageism I guess you can call it, attitudinal challenges. So any kind of insight or observation that you can share how do we mitigate that kind of, you know, gap in terms of reality and also as a perception of their either lack of ability or lack of competitiveness or whatever, you know that you can you can comment on.

DANIEL FRANK: So I'm not sure I have a solution. But I would like to talk about the origins of certain kinds of attitudes. Because I think it is sort of like, you know, the old saying about icebergs, that seventenths are below the surface. There are things that appear to be the problem and we kind of think we know the solutions to. 
I think the obvious one is that sort of up here in the brain is that people may not understand what the capacities are of older people just to continue to work. Just to continue to do a job. And I think this is very similar to the problem we have with disability. That people really just don't have the experience and awareness, to know that people with disabilities can be every bit as productive, if not more productive than people without those disabilities. I think it is the same with older people. Everyone probably has some relative who suffered with some kind of aging disease process and does have issues. And I think that's kind of where we usually stop. It is really an education issue. And we are going to do some workshops and show videos and have diversity messaging. That's kind of that stuff that you do with those attitudes. There is a lot more going on. And I think one of the issues is that we deal with people socially, based on really a set of templates. And for most young people in the workplace, and there is more young people in the workplace than old people still, that the only older people they know are their parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. There is this initial how do I relate to this person. The right answer is a coworker. But that's not where they come from. And to make it worse in a sense, you know, really the mainstream culture is heavily based on a lot of things that only really young people do and enjoy. Like TikTok. So did you see that latest TikTok video? That's not going to be a water cooler conversation with me, for example. Right? How do you relate socially at work to somebody when you don't have a template for it? I think that's an area that there are potential solutions to. And I would like to raise one more and that's the idea that old people are not innovative. I worked in Silicon Valley for a while in my career. Innovation is starting with a blank slate. And just doing something totally new. I know we are about to have a crash at the end of the bubble when people start writing in the press that none of the old rules apply. We can keep securitizing bad debt and it will be like safe. And so the fact is the old rules apply to a great extent. And also innovation is synthetic. One of the examples I like to use is the Web browser just as it was invented the Web browser had not one new piece of technology in it. Every single piece of technology in the web browser had been around for 20 or 30 years, if not more. Somebody synthesized existing technologies at the right moment when they had the right critical mass of technology and came up with something that revolutionized our society. What older people have is we, and I guess I have to include myself, we come with all of this experience in so many different areas and over such a long period of time that we don't have to invent something completely from scratch. And yet there really is a social attitude. And I have had recruiters tell me this; this startup would never hire you because you are stale. People have this attitude that innovation starts with a blank slate. And people came to see innovation in a different way. They would see the contribution that older people can make to innovation.

FRANCES WEST: Right. One of the MIT Professors talked about innovation. And he actually have the net net is the less resources you have the more innovative you are. The more innovative you can be. And there is a Chinese saying when you are poor you have to change. When you are really poor you have to transform. So I can relate to that to some degree. As we get older, your energy is less. Your kinds of capabilities are less. You become very good in picking and choosing what you want to do. And then you know what you are going to be good at. So that kind of instinctual prioritization is a human evolution of keeping you relevant to a great extent. But I love your comment about the social interaction. It is so important as a part of as we think about digital inclusions. It is not just the task itself. But what does experience and relateness to the family, to what we value the most. This is one of those things I think compared to maybe compared to even people with disabilities or compared to other generational Gen Z. Something with the older people that relational social interaction to the grandchildren, to the children is probably more important. So as we think about technologists that's kind of socio psycho aspect has to come into play. I mean we are actually running towards the end of our panel. I think we are going to try to leave a few minutes for questions. But before I do that, any kind of a last comment or next call to action or last observation that you all can each give. Michael.

MICHAEL PHILLIPS: Yes, I love the way that David articulated the areas for exploration. And I wanted to pile on one other and that's declining abilities. And there hasn't been a ton of work done on how to bridge the gap and bend all of the amazing work from the accessibility world and community over the years to meet people as they age that have declining abilities at the right time and the right products and understanding that not everyone with declining abilities see themselves as part of this community. So I think that's another area of great exploration that we can work on.

BIANCA PRINS: In Europe we started with policies on elderly people. Why it is so important to teach elderly, to understand digital banking. They often become victims of financial crimes. And they have savings and it is so hard to see elderly losing their life savings because people are extremely innovative in these fraud schemes, even AI calling, people thinking it is a child in trouble. That's hard for that ageing group. And that's why it is so important that their digital identity and wellbeing by the skills of understanding data information, assessing if something is real and learn to work with these developments. That's so important to what ICT proficiency is. And we have to make sure that we do it together. For as a bank in my personal opinion to say that okay, we should do our part and educate and support people and know how they can do it safely. It is also up to the elderly individual to learn to work with digital. And I think that's one thing

FRANCES WEST: Mutual responsibility.

BIANCA PRINS: Mutual responsibility. And then we can make a huge difference for everyone.

FRANCES WEST: Great point.

LUIS GALLEGOS CHIRIBOGA: Well, I was reading and really acknowledging some of my team's vision on this answer. They were talking about ageism and discrimination against the aging. One of them came up and said and said one of the people that most discriminate against aging are the aging. And, you know, the comment was very appropriate because they said most people will forget things. Look and said, I forget because I'm having a senior moment or because I'm aging I'm forgetting things. One of my vicepresidents said that's not exactly true. My 14yearold daughter forgets things. And you don't look at that as an issue of aging. I think we have to learn our capacities and our limitations and look into this. Technology can better the lives of all of us. We have to humanize it and put the standards of human evolution into this magnificent set of technologies to make life better for people who are aging, whoever they are. And those are standards that this group can do if they have the capability of humanizing the technology.

FRANCES WEST: Dan or Gary?

DANIEL FRANK: I don't think I have much to add. I will yield my time.


GARY AUSSANT: I would say hey, quickly, it is time for us to stop thinking of accessibility like its own separate thing we do for people with disabilities. There is a continuum. You don't have a disability or not have a disability. You have various levels of ability. Accessibility needs to be part of the user experience. We need to focus on cognitive disabilities because that's where good design and simplicity helps tremendously.

FRANCES WEST: Okay. We are run I do want to kind of do a summary statement. For those of you in the room, this is a beginning, it could be the beginning of a Human Rights for the older persons. In 2005 it was Ambassador Axel and myself in a hotel right next to you and we kind of talked about how technology needs to be embedded into a CRPD. And next thing we knew this thing started taking hold. So each one of us actually potentially would be witnessing history and helping to build this framework globally not to help people but help ourselves because like we all will age. So with that, I really want to thank the panel to bring different perspectives. And we have two minutes for maybe one or two questions. I see a hand there. And a hand there. And then maybe a hand there. So

And my closing, International Monetary Fund and thank you very much. It was extremely interesting. Ambassador, I'm over here. Sorry. Hi. And Daniel, I loved your elevator pitch, Ambassador and Daniel, your piece on capacity of elderly people. And I have a question and I think it is probably for Michael, Gary and Bianca. When I was a consultant and I worked in the health care industry we did a view of payer sites, looking at sites' payers. And anyone who has been on a payer site knows that they put everything in the kitchen right there. After doing a lot of research the insight that was arrived at was to provide a better user experience to design the sites for people, assuming the people are having the worst day of their lives. That was the baseline from which we started the design. What insights do you have that you found to be the leveler that was profound, that really sort of just told the story of why people go to these sites because I picked these services banking and investments? Any insights that you arrive at throughout the course of your work that would be helpful to hear? Thank you.

I'm happy to jump in, to take. What we have often done in the various companies that I have worked with and with our clients is that we really push the mobile first philosophy of design, which is basically like think about designing your product, as if you have this small space and you only have so many things, so many functions that you could put in that, in that screen. And really focusing on those key use cases. I think a lot of products try to do everything all at once. And I think if you thought of, No. 1, what are your key use cases and users and start designing for mobile experiences first and then extend that to like a desktop experience or, you know, full screen experience. It is going to force you to create constraints around your design that will really focus you on those critical functions. So that's one strategy that we've taken with our clients.

I'd like to add one. One of the key things and that's an extension to the digital use of banking, is in the app you want to have the essential information. You don't need all the clutter. When it comes to my experience as somebody with low vision using a Zoom option, it is equally to a person with reducing cognitive abilities, that it is the essential information which is shown. And I think that is key in any design. And we can surely use that approach when it comes to web design. Because in a lot of cases there is information overload and as well people with low vision as all people with limited cognitive abilities don't need all the clutter. So leave out all the junk is my personal advice.

If I could just share a really brief insight from my time in product management, a lot of our focus is always on sort of, you know, we come up with something and then maybe we do usability testing to see whether our idea was good. Right? I recommend starting with ethnographic research if at all possible. Watching how people live their lives and do their jobs without prejudices, mostly without questions and just observing. And from there, really developing an insight into what they need before we design what that experience is. I think that would go a long way toward helping especially in this area.

FRANCES WEST: Great. Thank you very much. I don't think we have time for any more questions, right? Yeah. Okay. We are all going to be around. So if you have other questions, we can take it offline. Thank you very much for coming to our session. And thank you to all these wonderful panelists.


FRANCESCA CESA BIANCHI: Thank you very much to the terrific panelists. We are going to have a break now for half an hour and back in this room we will have the next panel discussion on Smart Cities For All. 

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