This story is about a new market grab and a new brand of hype. Let us take a good look at the shiny marketing brochure for “eldercare technology.” It seems like the important investors, perched high, are very excited about the opportunity to squeeze more profits out of the demographic and health crises that they have previously created with their own hands — and to “monetize” the elders like captured pets, while pretending that they are doing it for the elders’ own good.
Ehm, who are our house experts on monetizing manufactured woes? The WEF folks! In 2021, they inquired: “Ageing: Looming crisis or booming opportunity?” Seemingly, the decline in health and fertility rates is a looming crisis for us, lowly peasants — but it sure is a booming opportunity for their crew!
The proverbial owners of everything are saying that “by 2050, the number of adults over the age of 65 globally will double, reaching a staggering 1.6 billion, with the largest growth in the developing world. This growth will be one of the greatest social, economic, and political transformations of our time, that will impact existing healthcare, government and social systems.” (Yay, new normal, hooray!) They continue:
“We can begin to make investments in our support systems (enabled and scaled by technology) that encompass a coordinated response from governments, society, academia, and the private sector.
To truly bring the holistic services needed to market, device makers, developers, enterprises such as retirement homes and insurance companies, civil society, policy-makers, and academia should come together to develop a unified platform that includes Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence [emphasis mine].”
Sure, when one has a hammer, everything is a nail! Meanwhile, the WEF story lists the following areas of eldercare technology:
Tablets for communication and entertainment
“Smart” platforms that integrate electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records with AI and analytics (yay!!)
Voice, touch, motion, and other assistive technologies
Connected IoT devices and sensors
Technologies for safety (monitoring and alert devices)
Sensory aids (e.g., hearing devices)
Gig economy services (e.g., meal delivery)
Oh and who is literally investing in this? According to the WEF, Microsoft does. “For example, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare helps manage health data at scale by providing personalized care, transforming data into patient insights, enabling virtual care and care team collaboration, optimizing treatment by combining IoT and analytics, and promoting data interoperability.” Oh, shocking. But at least, it’s for our own good!
A New Creative Way to Promote Surveillance and the IoT
Something is telling me, the nursing home industry might be on its way out. There is this term, “ageing in place,” which is zombie speak for an elder not being shipped to a nursing home. Now, personally, I am not a fan of nursing homes. Being born and raised in the “old world,” I believe that children have the duty to take care of aging parents, it makes for a saner world. That is what believe for myself.
But when the WEF promotes intergenerational living, I don’t think they come from the same place that I do! And besides, making up fancy terms for living together as a family is like re-inventing trees and bees! They are trying to take ownership of something that is not theirs.
None the less, in the words of our kindly chaperons at the WEF, “ageing in place refers to the desire to be independent in a residence of one’s choice and participate in the community. Meaningful social contact and well-being are essential components of ageing in place. Instead of segregating people into communities based on age (like retirement communities), intergenerational living can provide companionship and purpose for older adults.” Awwwwwww!
Living together as a family in a large enough home can be very beautiful and spiritually rich — but in this case, they are not coming from beauty. They are saying, “Peasants, you are taking up too much space. Squeeze!”
Are they offering anything good to help the elders? No. They are just using “ageing” as a new buzzword to push their old transhumanist tricks:
• Proactively monitor health and detect potential changes — This approach helps address issues before they become medical emergencies. According to research conducted by Bern University and published in Nature, using connected sensing devices to remotely monitor motion, activities, and moving speed is a promising way to help transition healthcare from a reactive to a proactive, precision medicine-oriented approach.
• Ensure reliable access to telehealth — As of December 2022, only 62% of rural areas in China had internet access, according to Statista. Yet 37.5% of China’s older population live in rural areas, according to the World Bank. To support the elderly in these communities, there should be stable, low-cost internet access to provide telehealth services. The costs can be defrayed through the government and/or by providing basic internet service.
• Incentivize home improvements and technology investments — To support loved ones ageing with privacy and dignity, either independently or with loved ones.
Interestingly, the media and the “industry experts” are highlighting the staffing shortages and the profitability issues in the nursing home industry, and it seems to me that there is an invisible hand that is pushing to replace the nursing homes of the past with WEF’s ‘smart homes’ and the IoT. Time will tell!
In the meanwhile, the elders are clearly begging to be surveilled at home (not), and therefore, for their own good, we need smart homes, motion sensors spying on people’s hand movements and bathroom habits, wearable devices, literal cameras in the bedroom, and other fun things. Yay, new normal and new profit opportunities, yay!
And just the like Soviet state asked the young ones to brainwash their older family members into the establishment talking points of the day, we are asked to betray our elders and convince them to accept all this for our “convenience” of monitoring them. Today, we are asked to be the enables of the rapey panopticon “for everyone’s convenience and safety” — and of course, in no time, we’ll be next!
The Problem Is Real
The underlying problem of the “ageing population” is real. In the developed world, there are more elderly people requiring assistance than capable caretakers. At the same time, health issues are abound among the young as well, and many people under 65 are so unwell and “eaten into” that they are just functional enough to get by and “consume” but not functional enough to “produce.”
The arrested development of the youth is straight in our faces. And so, there is this tremendous and growing army of disabled people, including the elderly, and not enough fully functional caretakers.
Even the scientists agree. According to Our World in Data, “countries across the world have been going through an important demographic transition: from young to increasingly ageing populations. In 2017 the number of people older than 64 years old surpassed the number of children under 5 years old. This was the first time in history this was the case.”
Then this 2013 paper titled, “A socially assistive robot for the elderly and cognitively impaired,” states:
“As the world’s elderly population continues to grow, so does the number of individuals diagnosed with cognitive impairments. It is estimated that 115 million people will have age-related memory loss by 2050.1
The number of older adults who have difficulties performing self-care and independent-living activities increases significantly with the prevalence of cognitive impairment. This is especially true for the population over 70 years of age.2
If a person is incapable of performing these activities, continuous assistance from others is necessary. In 2010, the total worldwide cost of dementia (including medical, social, and informal care costs) was estimated to be US$604 billion.”3
So yes, the problem is real, and, given the skyrocketing rates of dementia and autism, we haven’t even seen the worst of it yet. But sadly — oh so sadly — this individually painful and collectively devastating decline in health a very predictable, if not inevitable, result of the business model of the domination and the industrial revolution: “poison everything to squeeze the maximum profit, and then squeeze additional profit by selling the antidote.” Cha-ching, and again, cha-ching!
Even more sinister is the fact that the demographic imbalance we are living through is a result of not just the industrial-scale poisoning to squeeze a buck — but also of the deliberate and massive campaign to reduce fertility, detailed in no uncertain terms in the Kissinger report.4
What Does “Age Tech” Look Like?
Here is how the Guardian described the pervasive video surveillance at a small dementia care unit of the Trousdale, “a private-pay senior living community in Silicon Valley where a studio starts from about $7,000 per month”:
“In late 2019, AI-based fall detection technology from a Bay Area startup, SafelyYou, was installed to monitor its 23 apartments (it is turned on in all but one apartment where the family didn’t consent). A single camera unobtrusively positioned high on each bedroom wall continuously monitors the scene.”
Here we go, a camera in the bedroom. What about privacy? Oh, don’t worry your pretty little head about the privacy, it us all for our own good! The Guardian continues:
“In 2014, Berridge interviewed 20 non-cognitively-impaired elder residents in a low-income independent living apartment building that used an AI-based monitoring system called QuietCare, based on motion detection.
It triggered an operator call to residents — escalating to family members if necessary — in cases such as a possible bathroom fall, not leaving the bedroom, a significant drop in overall activity or a significant change in nighttime bathroom use.
What she found was damning. The expectation of routine built into the system disrupted the elders’ activities and caused them to change their behaviour to try to avoid unnecessary alerts that might bother family members.
One woman stopped sleeping in her recliner because she was afraid it would show inactivity and trigger an alert. Others rushed in the bathroom for fear of the consequences if they stayed too long … Some residents begged for the sensors to be removed — though others were so lonely they tried to game the system so they could chat with the operator.
Berridge’s interviews also revealed something else worrying: evidence of benevolent coercion by social workers and family members to get the elders to adopt the technology.”
According to Forbes, the U.S. the Aging Economy was sized at $7.6 Trillion a year by AARP and Oxford Economics (roughly 40% of the U.S. GDP). The European Aging Economy was sized at $4 Trillion, by Oxford Economics on behalf of the European Union (roughly 20% of the European GDP). And according to TechCrunch, Big Tech companies are very much tapping into the market potential of the older demographic.
For example, “Amazon officially launched Alexa Together, which turns Alexa devices into tools for caregivers with features that allow users to call out for help, an emergency helpline, fall detection, a remote assist option to help manage device settings and an activity feed so family members can see if someone has been less active than usual.”
Google, meanwhile, started piloting a simplified Nest Hub Max interface at retirement homes in an effort to help residents feel less isolated during lockdowns. So many opportunities for tech giants to collect more data and to train their AI!
What I find particularly sinister about all this is the cynicism of the multi-phase monetary squeeze. It seems like initially, the important investors aspire to squeeze all funds out of the relatively prosperous elders of today. But then they’ll have to pivot to another model.
As today’s adults of the working age grow old without perhaps accumulating as much ‘stuff’ as their parents, they can be ushered into digital cages, reduced to pawns (more than now), and used as “digital capital” or symbolic “tokens” to commandeer the flow of funds within a nepotistic and self-regulating network of “public private partnerships,” ruled by the Big Boys.
Inside such a network, the bureaucrats with titles will be able to declare one crisis after another and make decrees to print a mountain of money or generate CBDC to pay for “solutions.” Then a handful of “friendly” corporations will be paid directly for providing the “solutions,” such as motion sensors or robots nudging the elders or the disabled about being “up to date” with vaccines, etc. A mob.
Robots for Elders
MarketWatch lists the following types of eldercare robots:
- Medical Assistance Robots
- Daily Support Robots
- Spiritual Support Robots [sic]
I find the topic of eldercare robotics more disturbing than useful, and I was so disturbed by it that I recently wrote a philosophical article on the topic of eldercare bots.
“A Bossy Spy With Puppy Eyes: Miro-E”
Meet Miro (Miro-E), a cute robot designed allegedly to help the elders — but really to undercut the expectation of being taken care of by the family members during one’s old age — and to make a buck on promoting the benefits of zombiehood for all.
Why do I have so few kind words to say about this? Well, because this is yet another act of treachery. Yes, out of loneliness, people can accept a lie and get attached to an inanimate device that is programmed to mimic basic behavior of a living being, as if it were alive.
Yes, being deprived of healthy emotional “food” makes people do all sorts of tragic things. But is this a way to live? And is this a way to spend one’s old age — being lonely and getting “nudged” and spied on by an electronic device with a Disney face? What treachery, again.
(And advertising? Can you imagine how easy it will be to “suggest” to the needy elders to “ask about” this new expensive drug? For their own good, of course … Oh and this spy robot could then instantly “connect” to an AI “doctor,” who could both “recommend” and prescribe the expensive drug, right there on the spot? Sheer business genius, that eldercare robot.
Infinite opportunities for “growth,” as long as the friendly Fed keeps printing the money … but I digress.) Anyway, here is the digital eldercare device with puppy-like Disney eyes.
Reality Always Wins
Reality always wins — but this is only one part of the plot. The other part of the plot comes with pain. The ugly truth is that until reality wins, someone has to “absorb” the price of the lie.
For example, if an influential individual with pharmaceutical dollars in his eyes insists that “vaccines save lives” and chirps-chirps-chirps in a cheery voice about the benefits of the syringe, while forcing everyone to roll up the sleeve — but the vaccines don’t actually work and come with heavy side effects — the demographic that “absorbs” the price of the lie is the people who have rolled up their sleeves.
And so, when the carnage starts showing — especially as time goes by — the syringe — promoting individual becomes more and more invested in ‘damage control’: explaining away the side effects by deepening and widening scope of the initial lie, by bribing or mocking the victims, by censoring questions, etc.
In the meanwhile, as more individuals roll up their sleeves, the problem grows — and then the side effects become so wide-spread that it shifts “the norm.” And at that point, the influential individual almost sighs a sigh of relief. There are too many things that are wrong with everything, it’s hard to pinpoint the issue on any one thing, so hooray, and carry on.
A Hypothetical Tangent on Dementia and Vaccines
As of recent, I think more and more about the under-investigated issue of biological contamination in medical products, including vaccines. There is a number of organisms that can sit inside human beings for a long time and only cause drastic problem when the immunity drops. I recently wrote about the “infectious” hypothesis of Alzheimer’s disease (that is gaining momentum), for example.
It seems plausible the inflammation of the brain or the CNS could be triggered (as one of the factors) by microbes, such as overgrown bacteria or intracellular parasites.
And so what would happen if, let’s say, large batches of vaccines were straight out biologically contaminated, all other significant problems aside? If that were the case, then the people with strong immune systems would not have any significant symptoms in the short term, and would possible be fine for decades — and the people whose bodies are more out of tune would potentially have their bodies invaded and experience adverse effects right away.
But the tragic reality is that even those who got injected and infected with no symptoms under this scenario, may be fine for decades, but they may still end up with raging brain inflammation and dementia as they age, or develop neurological issues, etc. etc.
And then the industry would capitalize on their disease, completely unlink it from the injection(s) they got decades ago, and sell something new to “fix” the malaise. I think about this scenario all the time. But back to the eldercare robots.
How Reality Ends Up Winning in the Realm of Eldercare Robots
In the industry marketing brochure, the robots do good: they help the caretakers to lift the elders, they remind the demented elders to take their meds, and even they even sing an occasional song.
But how does all this work out in the real world? Imagine unsupervised robotic lifting of a frail elder. What if something hurts? What if a robot does a wrong move? What if it “freezes” like all computers do?
“Robots Won’t Save Japan”
“Robots Won’t Save Japan” is a book by James Wright on eldercare robots in Japan — a country where, according to the media, the adoption rate of eldercare robots is relatively high. A shorter version of Wright’s findings can be found in his article for the MIT Technology Review:
“Problems quickly became apparent. Staff stopped using Hug [a lifting robot, manufacturer website, video] after only a few days, saying it was cumbersome and time consuming to wheel from room to room — cutting into the time they had to interact with the residents. And only a small number of them could be lifted comfortably using the machine [emphasis mine].
Paro [a cute pet-like robotic toy, video] was received more favorably by staff and residents alike. Shaped like a fluffy, soft toy seal, it can make noises, move its head, and wiggle its tail when users pet and talk to it. At first, care workers were quite happy with the robot. However, difficulties soon emerged.
One resident kept trying to “skin” Paro by removing its outer layer of synthetic fur, while another developed a very close attachment, refusing to eat meals or go to bed without having it by her side. Staff ended up having to keep a close eye on Paro’s interactions with residents, and it didn’t seem to reduce the repetitive behavior patterns of those with severe dementia.
Pepper [a “social” robot, video] was used to run recreation sessions that were held every afternoon. Instead of leading an activity like karaoke or having a conversation with residents, a care worker would spend some time booting up Pepper and wheeling it to the front of the room.
It would then come to life, playing some upbeat music and a prerecorded presentation in its chirpy voice, and launch into a series of upper-body exercises so the residents could follow along. But care workers quickly realized that to get residents to participate in the exercise routine, they had to stand next to the robot, copying its movements and echoing its instructions.
Since there was a relatively small set of songs and exercise routines, boredom also started to set in after a few weeks, and they ended up using Pepper less often. […]
Robear [a lifting robot, video] was an experimental research project never actually used in a care home setting, being too impractical and expensive for real-life deployment. The project has long since been retired, and its inventor has claimed that it was not a solution to the problems facing the care industry in Japan; he said migrant labor was a better answer. Since my fieldwork ended, Pepper too has been discontinued.
But such robots continue to have a long afterlife, particularly in online media — projecting and maintaining a techno — orientalist image of a futuristic Japan. This may in fact be their most successful role to date. […]
Whereas previously care workers came up with their own recreational activities, now they just had to copy Pepper. Instead of conversing and interacting with residents, now they could give them Paro to play with and monitor the interaction from a distance.
And where workers who had to lift a resident had used the occasion to have a chat and build their relationship, those using the Hug machine had to shorten the interaction so they’d have time to wheel the robot back to where it was stored.
In each case, existing social and communication — oriented tasks tended to be displaced by new tasks that involved more interaction with the robots than with the residents. Instead of saving time for staff to do more of the human labor of social and emotional care, the robots actually reduced the scope for such work.”
Boy, what a mess are we in! I feel like we are getting closer and closer to the spot where we will have no choice but to face all our existential issues from the heart of a child — and ask ourselves why and how the poisoners-in-chief have been able to stay in charge for so long. What allowed them to keep so many people distracted and self-sabotaging? Why have so many — throughout the centuries — internalized different institutional lies despite the evidence of their own eyes? Why?
This is not good. How did we get to a place where older people, the carriers of wisdom, are expected to develop dementia, be lonely — and, while the cameras are on, interact with cute toys — and when the cameras are off, perhaps be given some sedatives and be “taken care of” this way? How did we get here?
If you ask me whether I bitterly object to the existence of functional lifting machines, for example, then the answer is no. If it were possible to create a lifting machine that is actually safe, available, and that can be used without turning human beings into robotic meatbags, I would be all for using them, with discretion and when unavoidable, to make it easier for the caregivers to do their jobs. But is it actually possible? And what is the “net” effect of eldercare bots?
And what if the “epidemic” of dementia and autism is at least in part a consequence of all the lies, all the omissions, and all the coverups by the medical mob — and it won’t get better until the mob is expelled? What if everything we’ve been taught to believe has been a lie or a half-lie?
What if our bodies are broken due to the disrupted microbiome and the unnatural amounts of poison all around us? What if the famous line about “vaccines saving lives” is just a “successful” marketing tagline?
And what if we have the power to put our energy into restoring our dignity, into healing our world, and praying like children for help and guidance so that we know what to do when we feel like we really don’t know what to do? I would like to end this story with a quote from something I wrote about loving our elders in 2021:
“I believe that accepting our elders with love is a crucial part of breaking the bulldozer-over-soul cycle. I believe that by doing so, we have a chance at expelling the ghost of the Great Reset.
The Great Reset has a political face but its essence is spiritual brokenness. The Great Reset is a culmination of the mechanistic, fearful, reactive approach to life. It’s a neurosis-driven attempt to establish total control to avoid pain. And what is the antithesis to that? Love and forgiveness. Love is a lot of work — including the love for the elders. But it is our way.”
About the Author
To find more of Tessa Lena’s work, be sure to check out her bio, Tessa Fights Robots.