Focus at Four: Using artificial intelligence to improve quality of life for seniors

The Texas A&M Center for Population Health and Aging says artificial intelligence could be the key to helping older Americans live independently.

Particularly, a new study by researchers Deborah Vollmer Dahlke, DrPH and Marcia Ory, Ph.D., suggest that voice-activated personal assistants (VAPAs) like Amazon Echo or Google Home could be useful.

"For seniors who want to remain independent but don't want to have to move around a lot, these devices are great," said Matthew Lee Smith, associate director of the TAMU CPHA. "They can turn on lights, remind you to take your medicine, make phone calls, make purchases, and much more."

"The best part," said Smith, "is that the device learns more about the user the longer it's used."

Smith acknowledges, however, that risks come with any advancement in technology.

"There are always privacy concerns when there's technology involved," Smith said. "Besides that, we understand that some members of this population would be priced out of the options, whether from cost of the device or lack of access to the internet required to use it."

For more from Smith, see the video player above. For more on the research from the Texas A&M Center for Population Health and Aging, see the Related Links.