Chinese Company Uses AI ‘Siri’ Assistant to Help the Elderly

Lanchuang Network Technology Corp has embarked on a mission: to improve elderly care in China.

Charging clients only 1 yuan (14 cents), the company provides a set-up box that includes a webcam paired with Siri-like voice assistant that allows customers to request services such as housekeeping and deliveries. 

The smart health care system launched a few months ago. According to Reuters, the system has already signed up 220,000 elderly clients in 16 cities. Half of these customers are in Shandong, a rapidly aging province in eastern China, where the company is based. 

“China’s market for elderly care is huge, but services in the industry are fragmented,” CEO Li Libo said in an interview at his company’s headquarters in the city of Weifang. 

For China as well as many parts of Asia, care for aging parents generally lies on the work of their children. With currently over a billion people in China aged 60 or over, retirement and nursing homes are increasing in price. And family-based care is increasingly becoming more challenging as most middle-aged children have less time to take care of their parents. For both Lanchuang and China, the challenge will be providing care and helping loneliness through entertainment. 

Other parts of the world are also addressing the issue of healthcare through technology. One example of this is Toi Labs, a company that aims to turn the toilet into a source of valuable health information. It contains sensors that can detect information in excreta that catches problems early on that may lead to serious health issues. 

The use of AI in the global health care market is expected to grow from $2.1 billion in 2018 to $36.1 billion by 2025, according to a report by research firm MarketsandMarkets. As technology becomes more advanced, entrepreneurs will work harder and harder to ensure that seniors are able to live healthy, active lives.

Featured Image via Flickr / timquijano (CC BY 2.0)

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