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Journal Articles & Conference Proceedings
Understanding the Role of Technology in Older Adults’ Changing Social Support Networks
Shengzhi Wang, Adoniah Carmeline, Beth Kolko, Sean Munson
27th ACM SIGCHI Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing
Technologies that facilitate communication between older adults and those around them have the potential to strengthen older adults’ connections with their support network. In this paper, we present findings from interviews with 16 older adult participants in the United States about their social network composition and related technology use during a challenging life event, the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw a decrease of in-person meetings and increase in communication technology adoption. Using the convoy model of social relations, we sought to better understand the roles different technologies play in older adults’ social connections. Participants chose what communication tools to use depending on social and situational contexts and overcame accessibility issues to adopt new technologies that supported continued engagement with their support networks. However, when others positioned technologies as ways for the older adults to receive social support, they resisted. A more comprehensive view of older adults’ evolving social convoys can help designers and researchers better create technologies that help expand and maintain older adults’ social support networks. Further, to facilitate older adults’ social connectivity, the design of technology should encourage older adults’ support networks to see those older adults as support providers, not just potential support recipients.
Digital News Navigator: A design fiction raising ethical considerations about systems that help older adults to recover from exposure to misinformation
Brian McInnis, Elizabeth Eikey, Raeanne C Moore, Shengzhi Wang, Camille Nebeker
[Preprint] Journal of Medical Internet Research 2022
Emotions are central to recognizing, responding, and recovering from an exposure to misinformation in social media. However, older adults are highly susceptible to misinformation in social media, due to the emotions involved with several key factors related to aging.

Research is needed to speculate about the unknown unknown ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) associated with technologies that help older adults to recognize, respond, and recover from an exposure to misinformation in social media. Designing for older adult use of social media is challenging, because they exhibit different patterns of use and have limited access to digital literacy training. Additionally, there is a risk that some system designs might further disenfranchise already vulnerable populations.

The paper presents research on a design fiction-based approach to speculate about the ELSIs related to a fictitious application called the “Digital News Navigator” (DN2) service. The DN2 was applied as a probe to reflect on potential unintended consequences of system design, reviewing a broad range of academic literature. To guide future research, the Digital Health Checklist for Researchers (DHC-R) was applied to contribute specific considerations related to ELSIs.

Together, the Author Statement and Discussion sections draw attention to how features of the fictitious DN2 service raise concerns about access and usability, privacy, risks & benefits, and data management. Our analysis also demonstrates how the design fiction method might be combined with frameworks for ethical thinking to generate insights about not-yet-possible technologies.

There are potential ELSIs associated with system designs intended to assist older adults as they are exposed to misinformation through social media. Design fiction and the DHC-R offer a structured approach for identifying and speculating about these risks.
Predictive Analytics and the Return of “Research” Information to Participants
Shengzhi Wang, Ellen E. Lee, Benjamin Zywicki, Ho-Cheol Kim, Dilip Jeste, Camille Nebeker
International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics 2020
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates older adults aged 60+ will double by 2050 with 80% living in low to moderate income countries. As remote research studies supported by digital devices increase separation between researchers and participants, it is important to maintain participant trust. Research participants have expressed an interest in accessing both group and individual level results, which are not readily available. To bridge this gap, we engaged residents of a local continuing care senior housing community (CCSHC) to co-design documents used to convey information about study results. The process informed the refinement of informational materials for communicating scientific research that the CCSHC community considers accessible and meaningful.
Technology to Support Aging in Place: Older Adults’ Perspectives
Shengzhi Wang, Khalisa Bolling, Wenlin Mao, Jennifer Reichstadt, Dilip Jeste, Ho-Cheol Kim, Camille Nebeker
Healthcare 2019, 7(2), 60
The U.S. population over 65 years of age is increasing. Most older adults prefer to age in place, and technologies, including Internet of things (IoT), Ambient/Active Assisted Living (AAL) robots and other artificial intelligence (AI), can support independent living. However, a top-down design process creates mismatches between technologies and older adults’ needs. A user-centered design approach was used to identify older adults’ perspectives regarding AAL and AI technologies and gauge interest in participating in a co-design process. A survey was used to obtain demographic characteristics and assess privacy perspectives. A convenience sample of 31 retirement community residents participated in one of two 90-min focus group sessions. The semi-structured group interview solicited barriers and facilitators to technology adoption, privacy attitudes, and interest in project co-design participation to inform technology development. Focus group sessions were audiotaped and professionally transcribed. Transcripts were reviewed and coded to identify themes and patterns. Descriptive statistics were applied to the quantitative data. Identified barriers to technology use included low technology literacy, including lack of familiarity with terminology, and physical challenges, which can make adoption difficult. Facilitators included an eagerness to learn, interest in co-design, and a desire to understand and control their data. Most participants identified as privacy pragmatics and fundamentalists, indicating that privacy is important to older adults. At the same time, they also reported a willingness to contribute to the design of technologies that would facilitate aging independently. There is a need to increase technology literacy of older adults along with aging literacy of technologists.
Talks & Presentations
Interview, Catherine Siskos
Interview on technology design with older adults and their privacy preferences
Kiplinger Retirement Report, 2020
Co-Designing Tech to Support Aging in Place: Prototype of Digital Informed Consent
Shengzhi Wang, Camille Nebeker
IBM AI for Healthy Aging Steering Committee Poster Session, 2020
Introspective Reasoning for Self-Adaptive AI Playing Card Games
Shengzhi Wang, Lee Martie
IBM AI Horizons Colloquium 2019
MyTerms: a Tool to Support Reviewing Terms of Service
Wenlin Mao, Shengzhi Wang, Camille Nebeker
IBM AI Horizons Colloquium 2019
Composing Self-Adaptive Card Playing Program with Meninx
Shengzhi Wang, Lee Martie
IBM Research Internship Showcase, 2019
Technology to Support Aging in Place: The Older Adult Perspective
Shengzhi Wang, Khalisa Bolling, Wenlin Mao, Dilip Jeste, Ho-Cheol Kim, Camille Nebeker
UC AI in Biomedicine Conference, Los Angeles, 2019
Technology to Support Aging in Place: Older Adults' Perspective
Shengzhi Wang
American Association for Arts and Sciences (AAAS) x UC San Diego Design Lab Plenary, 2019
Technology to Support Aging in Place: The Older Adult Perspective
Shengzhi Wang, Khalisa Bolling, Wenlin Mao, Dilip Jeste, Ho-Cheol Kim, Camille Nebeker
UC San Diego Institute for Public Health's 5th Annual Public Health Research Day, 2019
Co-Designing Tech to Support Aging in Place
Shengzhi Wang, Khalisa Bolling, Camille Nebeker
IBM AI for Healthy Aging Steering Committee Poster Session, 2019
Co-Designing Tech to Support Aging in Place
Shengzhi Wang, Khalisa Bolling, Camille Nebeker
IBM AI Horizons Colloquium 2018
Media and Related Mentions
[UW News] Q&A: How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect older adults’ technology use?
Interview by Stefan Milne
May 15, 2024
[] More Seniors Are Embracing Technology. But Can They Use It? UCSD Researchers Suggest Asking Them.
Article by Robin Seaton Jefferson
Jun 28, 2019