Oddly enough, old age is a relatively new phenomenon in western society. Since the XIX century when, thanks to the progress of the industrial and scientific development, increases the number of old people and their life expectancy, but at the same time increase the discrediting of old age. As the number of elderly people in society increases considerably, they attain a higher level of social representation that gives them public and political significance. And an important point is that, if we have luck, ´ and I wish to every one that read this post, we are going to live a long old age.
The society in which we live currently pressures and marginalises socially people with good physic and intelectual conditions on the basis of numeric age, and however exolts youth. On the one side,demands the elderly being dynamics, but at the same time demands them a moral code and clothes obligations, the appereance and repression in the sexual field.
Life models have been developed for the elderly that have not been fully taken on board by them, and they have not been involved in their design.
In spite of what is happening in nowadays society at a global level, there are areas on the planet in which being a elderly it is consider as a source of knowledge and that can bring value to society. In these parts of the world, people live longer in a simple way, realizing greatfull physic activities as walking or gardening, waking up with a sense of purpose every day, choosing wisely the food that they are going to eat and maintaining a solid and narrow relationship both with family and friends. These regions of the planet are calle “Blue Zones”, these regions were identified by cientifics and demographs who have found that the specific local characteristics and the practices give rise to a high incidence of longevity1 cases.
The five regions identified to be fulfilled with these requirements are:
Cerdeña, Italy (specifically Nuoro province and Ogliastra).
Okinawa island, Japan.
Loma Linda, California, researchers studied a group of Seventh-day Adventists, who are among the longest-lived in the United States.
Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica.
Icaria, island from Greece near the Turkish coast.
Researchers who have been studying these zones have summarised the factors that determine their existence in two ways:
The health: the inhabitants of these areas practice moderate exercise regularly, they eat a high amount of plant base products, drink alcohol, but not excessively, and practice Hara Hachi Bu, japanese concept which involves eating until you are 80% satiated.
The social sector: the inhabitants of the blue zones realize rituals for reducing the stress, pray, naps, tee ceremonies. They have reasons for standing up every morning, they participate in colective activities with environments that promote healthy habits. Also, they construct and maintain healthy links with people of their family and communitary environment and developed colective spiritual or religious practices.
Inside the area of Health and Wellness of the CARTIF technology centre, our purpose is in line with the aim of helping older people to be able to choose to live in a full and autonomous way as long as possible while still being able to contribute value to the community.In this way, older people can stop thinking of them as a burden, and enable new concepts in which older people became a social active. From this purpose arise in CARTIF the active participation in different entities in which we work aligned with this objectives, such as the participation in the Innovative Solutions for Independent Life Cluster (SIVI Cluster), Castilla y León Health Cluster (Biotecyl Cluster) and the active participation in the Digital Innovation Hub in Silver Economy of Zamora (DIHSE) which is going to present as a candidate to join the european grid o European Digital Innovations Hubs.
This initiative is important because the Silver Economy Digital Innovation Hub (DIHSE) seeks to be the “unic window” through which, SMEs, start-ups and other public or private entities could access to the information, services and facilities who need to address with success their processes of Digital Transformation aimed at promoting a Silver Economy (citizenship over the age of 50 years) efficient.
The mission of DIHSE is to help SMEs of the care sector, Silver Tourism and agri-food, as well as the local public adminsitrations, of our castellano-leonesa community; in their digitalization processes and offer access to the last knowledge and technologies, being also a link between, a door to collaboration between different regions for the digital innovation.
We are conscious that actually the basic biological needs of the old people are largely satisfied thanks to the advances in science and medicine and with this labour we can be certainly proud, but for giving sense to life the biological needs aren´ t enough.
Help the proliferation of blue zones to other parts of the planet it must be one of the objectives to take in count by the society, the basic investigation and the applied investigation can do their bit in this respect.
From CARTIF we are working on the development of solutions that add value to people´´ s quality of life at the same time while integrating them into social and health care processes involving professionals. A new technological development that is not integrated in the processes in a functional way or that interoperates digitally with other solutions is an island that add a reduce value or it is not sustainable in time.
To be a little more specific, the Wellness and Health area, counts with two investigation lines that pursue improving different quality aspects in the support of the clinic decision and other lines that focus on robotics with different aims.
Support to the socio-care decision of the professionals and users through (biomedic signal processing, Machine Learning as well as Support to the management decision (interoperability based in standars, discrete modelling in processes or Digital Twin) with projects as ISA (study of a framework of socio-care interoperability), IDEALNET (Cross-border innovation network on early diagnosis of leukaemia for healthy ageing).
Social Interaction Robotics, in projects such as AIROSO and UNO MÁS that are in execution. We are working on the development of the companion robotics. In strength interaction of men-robot (rehabilitation, tonification) with projects such as THERMES (study of technologies for the development of rehabilitation robots), SHAREM (development of modular mechatronic solutions of accessible cost for rehabilitation and tonification) and IDET (development of a therapy development environment for professional therapists without extensive knowledge of software development).
Development of technical solutions that allow improving the authonomy capacities of the people at their homes. In the PROCURA project we develop an intelligent walker and a technological assistant for the use of the toilet.
Our commitment is strong and we hope at some point to be able to replicate the blue zones for the wellnes of our elders.
New technologies bring important changes in all sense of humanity life. Specifically, artificial intelligence (AI) is going to change the very meaning of the concept of ‘human being’ and even the concept of work, which has always been so closely linked to us.
The ‘Episteme’ is a term reformulated by Michel Focault in the 20th Century and consists of knowledge linked to a temporary ‘truth’, imposed by the power of the time in which it is generated. Therefore, people who are outside this time frame of knowledge will have serious difficulties to understand or conceive it.
The concept of humanity, held in the theocentric view of the world during much of the Middles Ages, in which everything revolved around God, was totally different from the anthropocentrism that emerged from the Renaissance humanism of the 15th Century. In the first case, man is a tool for the glory of God, who is measure of everything in the universe. But, from humanism, man will be the centre of everything and from him it will be from which you are going to classify, measure and evaluate the universe. Since then, all the phenomena and elements that appear and stop appearing are related to us.
Let’s put ourselves in the position of the existence of an alien race. If this race had manifested itself before us in the Middle Ages, we would have related their existence to some divine design, we would have included them in the category of angels or demons. Currently, the same fact would be interpreted by and for us. What benefits would be arrival of these stellar neighbours bring to earth? What threat would it pose to us? Would they look like us? Could we take advantage of them or establish peaceful relations? As we are the top of the intellectual pyramid, will they repeat our behaviour and subdue us if they have superior technology?
Something similar happens with the concept of ‘work’. The work has gone from being ‘God’s punishment of man for original sign’ to ‘a way of honouring God’, and currently, the work is theoretically linked to terms such as ‘passion’ or ‘vocation’.
Currently, considering many paid human legal activities as work is difficult, such as Content Creator on Youtube, Social Media Manager, Influencer, etc. And not to mention the ethical and moral debates about clones as human being or not. The episteme is changing, but, as it has happened throughout history, we are resisting the evidence, two concepts that for us have been fundamental for last centuries, and that are beginning their decline. Humanity is no longer just superior intelligence, four limbs and a brain, a clone can also have four limbs, and intelligence, as we currently measure it, is far surpassed by a computer.
With work is the same story, not only must it be in tune with people’s values, but there must also be continuous motivation, with incentives that go far beyond mere economic retribution, everything points to the new concept of ‘work’ will not be linked to a specific place, but rather to objectives to be met. Until now, the challenge of the world of work consists on that people, through several training steps (school, degrees, courses, masters, etc.) try to adapt to what the labour market offers, but what if in the future, people train for themselves through their natural talents generates wealth? Who knows? It won’t be many years before we see the new episteme of work.
Ideas change according to the time of the people who develop the, so it is worth wondering if we are going to participate in those changes that will eventually end up being imposed, or if, on the contrary, we will be watching as mere spectators watching the world continue its course while we cling to nostalgia for the past, for when humanity and work defined us as people.
It is curious how, at the moment we find ourselves, our sense of time has been so disrupted due to the confinement to which the entire population is subjected.
Humanity has developed all kinds of tools that allow us to feel we have everything under control. That is why the most common way to corroborate the passage of time is the use of the clock. But right now, is the clock really that reliable? And, if so, Why does time seem to pass so slowly? What if the clock is just another of the illusions invented by humanity to appear to control something as intangible as time?
Time is much more than a number, time must be lived and felt in order to experience its passage. Our perception of time is very subjective and maintains a close relationship with the emotional situation that we now endure. Most of us have noticed at some point in our lives how the speed of time is a variable factor linked to our emotions. In comfortable situations the time flies by, when we do some pleasant or new activity, when we are motivated or when we are at the top of tasks. The opposite happens when we are having a bad time, when we are impatient or in any uncomfortable situation, such as being in danger or when we are bored. Also, special mention to the slowness of the time when we are paying attention to it, that is, when we keep an eye on the passage of the minutes, for example, when doing sports or going to the gym.
The previous observations lead us to understand the importance of how the subjective assessment we make of the perception of time influences this in our lives. Ramón Bayés (El reloj emocional; Barcelona: Alienta Ed. 2007), encourages us to examine the elements that influence this perception, as it is important for our mental health, ‘managing internal time, that is, the time we subjectively appreciate, it is very important to achieve well-being’. We are in constant war with time, sometimes wishing it would go faster and sometimes slower. What we have to ask ourselves in these cases is what subjective factors motivate us to have an expectation about how time should pass. That is, asking ourselves what emotions lead us to think that time is passing very slowly or very fast, and once identified, focus on these because it is what we have, time will never be in our hands. In this way we also help control the emotional alarms of the brain that can generate a state of stress that can seriously harm our health. Remember that stress releases hormones such as cortisol and one of the consequences of this is the depression of the immune system, a system that today more than ever is convenient for us to keep it as healthy as possible.
The recent veto of the Trump administration, the immediate suspension imposed on the Huawei company and the reactions of the companies Google (USA), ARM (UK), Vodafone (UK) Panasonic (Japan) and Toshiba (Japan), generate many doubts about what is happening in the world of technology due to the geopolitical dimension that this field is acquiring. And now, we ask ourselves: how can it affect us in the short and medium term as Spanish citizens and members of the European Union?
In this sense, from the CARTIF Health and Welfare Area we try to reflect and assess the scope of this new edition of the Game of Trump series and analyse the implications that these technologies can have on the socio – sanitary services and the effects of this new war on our quality of life.
Season I: Huawei and Google mobile phones
When we think about improving the quality of life of people with some new technological development, we always keep in mind that people seek to receive services on site, without the need to go physically to a specific place. That is why we believe that it is indisputable that the present and the future of the technological services that we receive go through mobility. In this respect, Huawei is one of the most important actors, being the second manufacturer of phones in the world in terms of sales and popularity among a public that praises especially the duration of their batteries and the quality of their cameras.
The owners of the company’s mobile phones, which number in the millions, are bewildered by the news that Google has broken relations with Huawei, ceasing to provide its software to the Chinese company, which uses Google’s Android operating system. As a result, Google’s decision deprives Huawei of the user interface and widely used applications such as Google Play, Google Maps and Google Mail.
Season II: The supremacy for the domain of 5G
At this point, analysts indicate that the mobile battle, although it is very important from the economic and commercial points of view, is not the most significant point of the confrontation. What is at stake is the supremacy in 5G technology and in this respect Europe has something to say. Since, although the leader in 5G is Huawei, there are two companies belonging to member countries of the European community which are in second and fourth place for their contributions to 5G technology, Ericcson and Nokia, while the first company in the US is in fifth place. This seems to be the reason for the apparent tantrum that everyone thinks will end up resolving with a negotiation, because the future is unstoppable. The Trump administration seems to prefer to slow the deployment of 5G to be dependent on Chinese and European technologies. Meanwhile, those who believe in conspiracies think that they are only pressing to access the keys and thus be able to spy on us.
It is estimated that Huawei will possess in the future up to 30-35% of the global standards of 5G and behind these standards we find the international specifications designed to boost the interoperability of the technology. But what is this about 5G and interoperability? And, above all, what applications can this have in the health field? ‘What are you gay? What are you running?’
Season III: What is 5G and how does it affect us?
The future of the social-health field is “promised” to us in pink thanks to the relationship between 5G and interoperability. For this reason, we have to talk about several lines of technological development in which we are working in CARTIF. An example is the ‘internet of things’ (IoT), which is nothing more than a network of physical objects, machines, people and other devices that allow connectivity and communications to exchange data for smart applications and services. These devices are made up of smartphones, tablets, consumer electronics, vehicles, social robots, companion robots and sensors that allow them to be controlled remotely through the existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for direct integration between the physical and digital worlds, which improves efficiency, accuracy and economic benefits.
5G technology is the one designed to optimize and improve internet connection speeds, considerably reducing the response time of the network and, therefore, capable of generating a range of opportunities in all digital sectors.
Technologies such as mobile, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will enable IoT communications through use cases and the 5G is the network that will connect these things. The IoT devices will have different capacities and data demands and 5G network will be necessary to be able to support all of them. With the ‘internet of things’, we will see services that only need a small amount of data and a long battery life, as well as devices that require high speeds and reliable connectivity. (1) (2)
Similarly, from our scientific skepticism regarding technology, it is necessary to note that, as is common in our lives, not everything is in pink and we are aware that there are going to be aspects to take into account to develop a technology humanized designed only to significantly improve the quality of life of people. For example, the increase in speed and volume of information imply higher powers at higher frequencies, and the consequences of the bio-compatibility of these new electromagnetic emissions is a field of study really important. On the other hand, there is the aspect, not less important, of the privacy of the data. Currently, thanks to Big Data and AI there are many companies that have more information about the determinants of our health than the socio-health systems to which we attend (and we all know that the scope of the data ‘is dark and full of terrors’). Some think that this is the true Iron Throne, and there are interests so that, as some cluster us as potential consumers. They want to cluster us to manipulate us.
Final season IV: Making virtue of necessity
The socio-health system is in a critical state from the point of view of sustainability, given the aging of the population and the cuts in budgets. To make the system sustainable as a whole, it is necessary to optimize the connection between necessary resources and available services. We really believe that this can only be solved by an adequate, intelligent and person-centered use of technology.
At the international level, the aging of the population is affecting all the regions and countries of the world that have reached a certain level of development. There is no doubt that the extension of life is one of the main achievements of our society, although it is true that this achievement also poses important challenges and opportunities for our economy, health system and social protection.
In Spain, demographic aging is very marked and this is especially evident in the larger regions, characterized by a rural population whose young people tend to migrate to cities. In these areas, providing social and health services is more expensive and difficult due to the lack of resources. The social commitment has allowed to transform this unfavorable situation into a virtue. Therefore, the social-health system of Spain is considered as one of the best in the world, due to the good results it presents, combining high levels of efficiency and quality with a comparatively lower cost.
In this respect, Castilla y León, according to the State Observatory for Dependency carried out by the National Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services corresponding to the management of the year 2018, is recognized again (twelfth consecutive year) as the autonomous community that manage better the Dependency in Spain. The corresponding mark of Castilla y León is 9.3 out of 10. The average score of the Spanish communities stands at 5.04 points. Therefore, we are talking about an unprecedented success.
The ecosystem of our region, embodied in the SIVI and BIOTECYL Clusters, formed by a large number of organizations, both public and private: health systems, public social agencies, patient associations, groups that provide services, service companies, geriatric, Universities and Technology Centers, structures the development and provide the services so that we can develop our lives and those of our loved ones in a comfortable way taking into account parameters of quality, efficiency and independence.
For all this, we have to be aware of our responsibility and, from this privileged vision, take advantage of new opportunities to carry out scientific research and humanized technological development with the sole aim of improving the quality of life of people. In CARTIF we believe that this is the meeting point and there we will be contributing our experience.