may surprise you to know that living longer is not where our tools have really helped us.
In fact, we probably shouldn’t exist in the first place.
In his book, The artificial ape: How technology changed the course of human evolution, Timothy Taylor weighs human history by showing how weak we are in nature’s terms. He believes that our tools have changed our bodies and minds over millenia. Taylor then argues that we have influenced our own development over time by making choices about which tools suit us and which ones we either dislike or can’t master.His argument is captivatingly simple, we are enormously powerful as a species of tool makers and users but our bodies are relatively frail. We survive individually and collectively because we have become the ultimate tool makers.
In other words, innovations are our leading weapon in the fight for survival. We don’t just imagine, we design, adopt and adapt.
Consider another article published recently in The Economist newspaper with the headline “Planet of the phones” revealing that 80 percent of all adults on earth will use a smartphone by 2020. That will be 4 billion smartphone users.
If we overlap this figure with the one on ageing, we can estimate that around 800 million of those 4 billion smartphone users could be over the age of 65. But they won’t be. It will look more like 100 percent of young adults using smartphones and a proportion of older adults using smartphones in declining numbers with age.
The intersection of these two megatrends changes everything about “getting old.”
As former Microsoft chairman Steve Ballmer has observed, “The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people . . . it is all about potential.” Surely, the potential to change the personal and widespread experience of ageing is worth investing the time that it takes to read a small book or use an app.
Ageing, after all, is something more people than ever before are doing, for longer periods, all over the world.
Policy-makers and the media are paying attention. Demographic ageing regularly makes headlines as pressure on retirement funds, the health care system, housing and assisted living cause headaches for businesses and governments. New policies are debated, but little of the discussion focuses on what we experience on a personal level.
When you play Words with Friends (TM), post on FaceBook (TM), search on Google (TM), you are connecting to powerful computer servers that do what you ask them to do and learn from your interactions with them. That learning is rudimentary now, but is quickly becoming very advanced. The research on ageing and technology began in earnest in the early 2000s with reports from the National Research Council and the EU. Today, it is the focus of many academics and businesses.
Our purpose is to link the two megatrends of longevity and personal digital technologies into something used by every one of us not only to live longer, but live empowered, active and positive lives.
Finding our “Platinum Power is about the tools and technologies that exist today for positive ageing. Platinum Power also predicts greater technological capabilities in the near future.
“Ageing is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.”
With a little effort on our part, we can get modern tools to do our heavy lifting. We call this “Platinum Power.” Platinum Power is not a government policy. It is not a product. It is an idea.
We believe this idea is so powerful that it will help all of us get more out of something wonderful – using technology to enhance the ability to live almost twice as long as our great, great grandparents. But it does require commitment and good old-fashioned tool use.
As Pope John XXIII wrote, “Men are like wine – some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.”
My Platinum Power is about being our best. It’s that simple.
Travel with us through twelve short chapters in which we cover the four quadrants, each with three key focus areas. Let us know how you age!