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Boomers and Technology: An Extended Conversation

Futurist Michael Rogers explores what Boomers want and expect when they look around the corner.

silhouetted man in front of large video screen

— Photo by Richard Newstead/Getty Images

Parents. Boomers will lead the aging-in-place movement with their own parents, wiring their parents' homes with smart sensors that monitor motion, power usage, average conversation levels and footstep patterns, and that send regular updates that all is well—or suggest the boomer check in to make sure the parents are OK.

A Safer, Kinder Internet. As boomers demand better security online, true Internet identities will become available—the equivalent of driver's licenses or passports—not only improving security but also producing better online manners. Boomers, seeking trust and civility, will be the "settlers" of the current Wild-West Web.

Simple, Self-Healing Computers. Boomers will expect computers to keep track of their own electronic "health" and to report problems before they cause serious trouble. Preferring voice commands and touch screens, boomers mistrust any device that takes more than one page of instructions to use.  

Money to Go. The mobile device will become both a credit-card and cash equivalent, and boomers will take to this as a natural progression of online banking.

Home, Green Home. The boomer dream home will have a full solar roof, plus energy monitoring that lets residents tailor their usage to maximum efficiency. Domestic robots will be increasingly common appliances, and in new homes, designers will make kitchens and floor plans "robot-friendly."

Video-Game Fever. Boomers will become video-game aficionados, primarily using motion-sensing video game consoles rather than old-fashioned game controllers. One favorite genre will be games that let players use real sports equipment—from ping-pong paddles to golf clubs—to work up a sweat playing online competitors on the big screen.

The clear message of Boomers and Technology is that this generation's technology habits are not frozen in time. Boomers are thoughtful adopters who are open to new technologies that add value to their lives. And the choices they make—the devices, software, and services they embrace—will directly shape what becomes available as the next generation grows older. Boomers today, in short, are inventing the 50-year-old of the future.

For full details, see Boomers and Technology: An Extended Conversation.

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