3 ways AI can boost security and independence as you get older

Elderly woman smiling on the phone while checking her laptop
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When we think about AI we tend to focus on the future of the software, but not our future in combination with it. We imagine what ChatGPT will look like in 20 years, but not how we will connect with it in our old age. 

I mention this because I was recently asked for a favor by a family member. They wanted recommendations for a phone for their elderly friend. Unfortunately, I was hard-pressed to find a device capable of everything required. However, as I was researching I realized that AI could conceivably do the majority of these tasks with ease but it's an area that we rarely see developers mention. 

AI is fantastic for accessibility, and I’ve said this before, but it is important to look at how AI will improve our lives as we get older and how it can help our elderly relatives now. 

AI makes technology easier to use

iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro cameras

(Image credit: Future)

None of us like to think about the time when we do not understand the new technology. I'm sure we've all wondered how elderly people can't seem to figure out something as simple as a printer. However, it's a fact of life that, eventually, we will be the ones struggling to figure out how to change the volume on the TV. This is an area where, surprisingly, AI can be a big benefit. I realize that AI sounds complicated, and it is, but it should be noted that the complication never really features in using the software.

For instance, how a large language AI model is trained and functions is a nightmare of technical terms and jargon. However, actually using ChatGPT is simple and easy. This comes into play when you realize that AI can make every program simple and easy to understand, primarily by working in the background of the device and performing most of the complex tasks.

Several features have recently been announced that use AI to better the experience and usability of phones and devices. For instance, Google recently introduced Circle To Search and Ask With Video, two features that use AI in conjunction with other parts of the phone to improve the overall usability of Google Search. While they aren't aimed directly at the elderly, they are features that will greatly benefit them and couldn't be simpler to use.

AI can offer support and help when needed

ChatGPT app on iPhone

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

One of the worries about older relatives is their safety when they’re alone. For instance, one of the biggest fears is that the elderly relative will fall over with no one around to help.

If you have ever tried to use Siri to make a call you will know it can be a lesson in frustration. This is partially because the voice recognition for Apple's assistant isn't currently great, but that is likely to change with the introduction of Apple Intelligence. However, the smarter AI becomes, the better it gets at hearing our voices and understanding what we need. For instance, an AI assistant could hear you, place the call and relay all the important information to the emergency services.

Another benefit is AI's ability to summarize and explain what is happening with our devices, especially as our eyesight gets worse. For instance, as you get older it becomes harder and harder to read a digital screen, but an AI can read and explain everything in an easy-to-understand format, making it much easier to understand and avoiding the embarrassing moment of asking someone what it says. This is especially important for emails or private documents you might not want someone else reading.

AI can protect you, but also someone to talk to

Copilot vs ChatGPT

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have been paying attention to the news you will likely have noticed an increase in fraudulent and spam calls. One of the most concerning involves cloning an official number to make it appear more realistic. This is a concern for the elderly who tend to be the main victims of these kinds of crimes. However, AI can be a big help in dealing with these situations. For instance, Google Gemini recently announced a new feature that will alert users that a call is likely fraudulent. 

However, AI can also be a friend when necessary, especially when dealing with one of the biggest issues affecting people, loneliness. While everyone has an issue with being alone, there is a huge problem with elderly people being alone and having no one to talk to. however, this is an area where AI can be a big help, so long as it's used carefully. 

The first way AI can help is by making it easier to pick up the phone and call someone. One reason it can be hard is that you may have failing hearing, making calls a nightmare. However, many AIs can transcribe a conversation for you and read it back to you, they can even translate conversations in call. Failing that, some AI have even been able to hold conversations with people, it isn't much but it might make all the difference. 

Overall AI offers many benefits to everyone, but it is important not to forget that technology can do more than just flashy tricks. We all fear losing our independence as we age, but AI will make this much less common and help to keep us going for many years.

However, AI can be a bit overwhelming for people but we have comprehensive lists on how to use AI programs like ChatGPT, as well as guides on fun prompts to try that will help you learn how to use the software.

More from Tom's Guide

Category
Arrow
Arrow
Back to Mobile Cell Phones
Brand
Arrow
RAM
Arrow
Storage Size
Arrow
Colour
Arrow
Condition
Arrow
Price
Arrow
Any Price
Showing 10 of 256 deals
Filters
Arrow
(256GB Blue)
Our Review
1
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Blue...
Mint Mobile
(256GB)
Our Review
2
Samsung - Galaxy S24 Ultra...
Best Buy
(128GB)
Our Review
3
Google Pixel 8 Pro - Unlocked...
Amazon
(128GB)
Our Review
4
Google Pixel 8 Pro 128 GB in...
Visible
Our Review
5
Google Pixel 8 Pro - 128 GB
AT&T Mobility
Our Review
6
Google Pixel 8 Pro - 128 GB
Verizon
(256GB)
Our Review
8
iPhone 15 Pro Max 256GB...
Apple
(256GB Blue)
Our Review
9
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max...
Straight Talk
(Grey)
Our Review
10
Total by Verizon - Apple...
Total Wireless
Load more deals
Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.