The Human Side of High-Tech: A Clinical Social Worker’s Insights from CES 2024 

This article is the adventure of one clinical social worker’s journey through the world’s biggest tech show, armed with the belief that the right technology, when guided by compassion and empathy, can transform the experience of aging.  

In the neon-lit corridors of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024 this past January, where the future feels just a heartbeat away, Amanda Krisher, LCSW-C, found herself at an unexpected crossroads of technology and human connection. Steering through the bustling crowds of Las Vegas’s most anticipated tech gathering, Krisher wasn’t just another face among the tech-savvy throng; she was on a quest. As the Senior Director behind the Engage with® Skills Training Program, her mission was clear yet complex: to bridge the gap between the cold precision of technology and the warm nuances of caring for our aging loved ones. 

Her journey kicked off on a high note with an invitation to join alongside of industry experts such as Pippa Boothman from Playfinity and Jennifer Javornik from Filament Games, on the “Gaming Beyond Leisure” expert panel. Here, amidst discussions that spun around gamification’s role in everything from sports to education, Krisher brought something unique to the table—a deep dive into how these digital tools can foster empathy, respect, and effective communication among those who care for older adults. The room buzzed with the energy of about 30 industry insiders, all intrigued by the idea that video games could teach us how to be more human. Want to watch the replay on this captivating, paneled discussion? You can watch the full “Gaming Beyond Leisure” session online here 

 
But the real adventure began as Krisher ventured into the sprawling exhibitor halls, a place where innovation meets imagination. It was here, among the latest gadgets and gizmos, that she found a treasure trove of tech promising to revolutionize older adult care. From Futronics‘ self-driving chairs to Samsung Health House’s game-changing health monitors, each booth offered a glimpse into a future where aging might just become a little less daunting. 

Yet, it wasn’t just the gadgets that captured Krisher’s attention. It was the stories behind them, like the founder of Sana Health who, in the aftermath of a life-altering accident, discovered a way to alleviate his pain through visual stimuli—now on the brink of FDA approval. Each innovation, from XR Health’s VR therapy sessions to ElliQ’s companionship robots, told a tale of human resilience and the relentless pursuit of a better quality of life for those in their older years. 

Amidst the technological marvels, Krisher’s presence at CES was a gentle reminder that at the heart of all this innovation lies a profound human element—the desire to connect, to care, and to improve the lives of those around us. Her exploration of CES 2024 wasn’t just about witnessing the future of older adult care technology; it was about finding new ways to weave empathy and understanding into the fabric of our digital lives. 

As Krisher navigated the flashy stands and high-tech displays, she left behind a trail of inspiration—a vision of a future where technology doesn’t just make us more efficient, but more human. In a world racing towards tomorrow, her insights from CES 2024 remind us that the heart of innovation beats not in the machines we build, but in the lives we touch. 

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Amanda Krisher, LCSW-C

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