Technology and aging: “Be careful to keep the human” – How will seniors be welcomed in 2050?

This was one of the closing themes of the 37th congress of the Fnadepa*, in Rennes, on June 9 and 10, 2022. And if, by always wanting to push back death and to innovate to create supermen, we did not risk dehumanize our future old? Health anthropologist and philosopher of science, Evelyne Lasserre and Jérôme Goffette illustrated the warning with excerpts from the Japanese animated film Roujin Z, released in 1991. Or the story of an old man connected to a robot. The machine will transform to respond to his desire, notably reproducing the voice of his late wife.

Until it becomes monstrous. “This scenario raises the question of the sacred in a highly technological society. What real autonomy do we have when connected to a robot? Is it really better to live than to live a long time, depending on palliative robots? »

The artificial intelligence revolution

If reality has not yet joined science fiction, concrete experiences of palliative machines like exoskeletons already exist. “The military were the first equipped with it. We are sent dreams, detail the two scientists. But, concretely, these technologies are very hurtful and still much less effective than prostheses. It is necessary to relativize. »

In terms of artificial intelligence (AI), the revolution in the world of health is, for its part, well and truly underway. “AI is already helping cutting-edge radiology, the algorithms, which digitally translate the functioning of living things, can be useful for calculating the evolution of AMD (age-related macular degeneration). There is major potential in care and innovation,” summarizes David Gruson, founder of the Ethik-IA movement, who participated in the work on the latest bioethics law. “Artificial intelligence is everywhere, it would be futile to want to block it. The challenge is rather to regulate it to create legal safeguards and avoid breaches of equality in the face of innovation, he insists. If we don’t work on it, we will end up with a healthy AI Netflix in less than two years. »

* National Federation of Associations of Directors of Establishments and Services for the Elderly

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