Seniors
The Customers Poised to Benefit Most from AI
Bruno Vaquette
Bruno Vaquette
CEO Sodexo Seniors Segment Worldwide

Back when I first witnessed caregiving, growing up with a father who worked with seniors, it never occurred to me that the field could be cutting-edge. In fact, I thought of it as closer to an ageless art.

But now that I’m overseeing a segment of a company that is quickly adapting to new technologies and investing in actual robots, I am seeing the field of senior care with new eyes.

Even as our employees are making the crucial connections that sustain our clients, seniors are poised to be some of the biggest beneficiaries of coming breakthroughs. This is especially important in our field, where the growing demands can outweigh the current services available.

When technology is thoughtfully designed to enhance, rather than replace, human interactions, it can create new opportunities to do our jobs better.

For instance, a robot is being designed to offer senior citizens companionship. This device will not replace a home aide or caregiver. It is not designed that way. It’s equipped instead to enhance face-to-face services by helping seniors connect to family and friends, reminding them to take medication and providing a presence when a caregiver cannot be there.

The technology was developed to fix problems that current workers couldn’t address. Just as driverless cars might soon shuttle seniors to appointments and robots might deliver them breakfast on-demand.

Artificial Intelligence has been debated – and feared – for years. Job displacement at the hands of more efficient technology is a very real concern. At the same time, some of the most successful AI integrations involve robots doing work that doesn’t replicate what a person can do. It’s work that never before existed.

Just as game changers like Uber and Airbnb found success by inventing new kinds of services, robots, too, can solve problems we didn’t know could be fixed.

When technology is thoughtfully designed to enhance, rather than replace, human interactions, it can create new opportunities to do our jobs better. This will lead to better-served customers and, quite possibly, a broader economy.

Let’s look to these innovations to guide us going forward. Technological breakthroughs are showing no signs of slowing down. But neither is the ageless power of our human ingenuity.

It’s our business to help seniors live their best lives today and every day.

 

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