On care: Future Scenarios

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Congratulations, you’ve made it to retirement age, and without a pension or investment plan, you’ll have to hack your way through your golden years like you did your youth. Have no fear, with a little bit of innovative thinking and peer collaboration, you can seamlessly cruise through your elder dementia in style!

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Many precarious workers do manage to make it to retirement, and it just might happen to you. Some Americans have turned to “outsourcing eldercare” by shipping their parents off to India, to live like a Maharaja on $2000/month. In Japan, the film “Mezon do Himiko” tells the story of a retirement home for elderly transvestites and homosexuals. They managed to fund their retirement from a successful Tokyo nightclub and wealthy donors.

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But are Ledgestriders™ so well prepared for their retirement? Do you really think people will want to read your funding applications when you’re wearing a diaper? It’s time to start exploring options for people who aren’t part of the rank and file society before it’s too late.

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But you are now 96 years old and your robotic care assistant accidentally sucked up your dentures into the #opensource vacuum cleaner because the IoT fridge and stove were chatting away and inadvertently knocked the robot offline.

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It’s really not a problem because a neighbour in your HackGrace has a 3D printer and (after downloading a free 3D file off Thingiverse) you manage to print a new set of teeth. Unfortunately, they are not the right size and you wind up gumming your food at that evening’s Disco Soup event, getting chunks of organic radish all over your sustainable milk-fiber bib. Since your robotic helper is on the fritz, you decide to wash yourself off in the hipster bathing facility but slip and break your hip.

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Again, your mates have this problem covered and start using 3D printed bones to grow you a new leg. Unfortunately, the operation doesn’t go well and you get an infection, however, there is a cure for those with sufficient computational capacity: you can manufacture your own patent-free medicine based on your individual DNA.

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Hooray! You win! you have advanced to the next level of retirement: that of constantly badgering your kids to come and visit you! But not everyone will be so lucky in the future, so it is time to explore the different possibilities that can be made to exist for people outside the “system”.

  • What options are there? How will this be financed?
  • What can/will the state do?
  • Private corps? What technological solutions will there be?

Soon we’ll be exploring the different options that exist or will exist and extending the conversation to experts in specific fields to get a better picture of how the world will be when we’re old and no one loves us anymore! Over the next two years Edgeryders, Stockholm School of Economics, The City of Milan, The University of Bordeaux and WeMake are working together to:

  • collect experiences of community-driven care services
  • validate them through open discussion, both online and offline.
  • augment them with state-of-the-art maker technology (3D printing, laser cutting, biohacking…)
  • combine everything we learn into the design and prototype of next generation community-driven care services.

This is way too ambitious for us to do alone, so we’ll do it with everybody, leveraging collective intelligence. The whole process will be – and stay – open to anyone who wants to participate. We are working on a social contract to acknowledge each and every contribution, and will not make participants into a crowd of rightless volunteers.

Care is deeply human. Everyone has firsthand experience of it. Even those if us who are not doctors or nurses or caregivers are occasionally patients (even doctors!); we all have first-hand experience of giving and receiving care. So, everyone is welcome to join the conversation and the building of subsequent prototypes.

Want to get involved? Great! Getting started is easy. Just pick one of the challenges and go for it here.

Welcome to the Internet of Humans!

Text adapted from an editorial piece commission from Jeffrey Andreoni.