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Societies 2017, 7(3), 26; doi:10.3390/soc7030026

From Triple Win to Triple Sin: How a Problematic Future Discourse is Shaping the Way People Age with Technology

1
Active Ageing Research Group, Avans University of Applied Sciences, 4800 RA Breda, The Netherlands.
2
Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, 3512 JE Utrecht, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 May 2017 / Revised: 24 August 2017 / Accepted: 29 August 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Perspectives on Aging Futures)
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Abstract

This essay provides a critical analysis of the ageing-and-innovation discourse. The ageing-and-innovation discourse is a key rhetorical structure that legitimizes very large investments in technologies for older people. In this discourse, ageing is positioned as an imminent crisis that will affect whole societies, both socially and economically. Investing in technological solutions is, in turn, positioned as a solution that generates benefits on a societal, economical and individual level. This discourse is used to legitimize investment, rally support and reduce uncertainty. We contend that there are three problems with the ageing-and-innovation discourse. First, it legitimizes investment in every technology for older people and thus provides no means of discriminating between useful and non-useful technologies. Second, this discourse presupposes a very negative view of ageing that jars with the positive view of ageing that many older people have, which, in turn, leads to problems with acceptance of these technologies. Third, the ageing-and-innovation discourse creates a moral high ground that makes it hard for opponents to disagree with this discourse. The ageing-and-innovation discourse is a successful rhetorical device, but it ultimately hinders the development of suitable technologies that fit in with the lives of older people and thus needs to be reconsidered by scientists, policy makers and industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: ageing; innovation; rhetoric ageing; innovation; rhetoric
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Neven, L.; Peine, A. From Triple Win to Triple Sin: How a Problematic Future Discourse is Shaping the Way People Age with Technology. Societies 2017, 7, 26.

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