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We're Still Here

Fri, Sep 20, 2019

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan - Dialogue Catalyst

C3 Inspires New Technology with Amazon Alexa

What if technology could be made more supportive for older adults, people with Parkinson’s, and disabilities?

A team of engineers from Amazon’s Alexa product met with 24 older adults at the MAH last week to share their advice and concerns to help Alexa evolve. Due to limited space, only a limited number of C3 members (the Creative Community Committee) attended, but their ideas and suggestions were unlimited.

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Before meeting with our seniors, engineers first enjoyed an introduction and tour of the local and international art created for We’re Still Here. Amazon employees and amazing elders then chatted over lasagna and salad about life in Santa Cruz.

Then, the work began. Amazon’s accessibility team explained what Alexa can do. Questions from participants were inspiring. Some members had been invited because they did not have access to cell phones or the internet. Their eyes were wide with amazement at what Alexa has the potential to do. At the end of the session, C3 members and engineers brainstormed what services and features future versions of Alexa might be able to provide to enable aging with ease and independence.

This workshop is just one of the ways that the MAH’s process for social issue-driven exhibitions has motivated local citizens to take action to end isolation and build ease for elders. What other agencies and corporations might grain wisdom, success, and connection by asking advice from the older adults who planted these seeds through We’re Still Here? If you know of an organization that might benefit, please contact Jeff@santacruzmah.org

In the meantime, “Hey Alexa can you order me some Rocky Road ice cream, please?"