11 November 2020

Technological frontrunners like South Korea aren't immune to the digital gap between young and old, which has only widened as the pandemic increased our use of contactless technology. To narrow that divide, the Seoul Digital Foundation is employing robots to teach older adults to use KakaoTalk, one of South Korea's most popular messaging apps.

Built by LIKU and running custom software, 220 robots will teach 3,000 participants at senior centers throughout Seoul, now through January 2021. Using spoken instructions, facial recognition and gestures, the small humanoid robots explain how to message grandchildren or share photos with friends. While using advanced technology might seem counterintuitive, robots have a distinct advantage: unlike most humans, they're endlessly patient and will happily repeat instructions as often as needed.

In addition to robots, Seoul Digital Foundation also operates demo kiosks that let people practice using touchscreens for transactions, and offers digital literacy classes taught by humans. Our takeaway? People who struggle to use apps and touchscreens don't just have trouble making payments or buying train tickets, but are also at risk of isolation, as social interaction increasingly involves technology. So there's huge value to be had in ensuring technological advances don't leave anyone behind. How can your brand or city increase accessibility?

Stay healthy,

The TrendWatching content team

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