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July 23, 2021

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City’s digital partners for elderly

China is projected to have 300 million people aged 60 and over by 2025 and Shanghai has launched a Digital Partner campaign to help bridge the digital divide for the elderly.

It foresees voice-controlled navigation and taxi-hailing services, a guidebook for using applications, easy hospital reservation services and targeted online radio and food delivery services.

The campaign will make the city “warm” for the silver community, according to the Shanghai Urban Digital Transformation Committee.

The committee, founded last year and led by top officials including the city Party secretary and mayor, will accelerate Shanghai’s digital transformation over the next two years.

To deal with digital gap challenges, Shanghai will upgrade government sites and applications, publish guidebooks and offer free training for older and disabled people.

Under the campaign, 66 government sites, 46 applications and digital services from 23 firms will become “barrier-free” by the end of the year. They will be more accessible, with bigger fonts, simpler displays and one-click access in some cases.

For example, older people can use taxi services via voice or facial recognition. Seniors and blind people can open personal online radio programs on platforms like Ximalaya offering, while special assistance and government platforms will offer simplified online healthcare services, reducing waiting times in hospitals.

A guidebook for digital services use, with pictures and step-by-step instructions, will be sent to local communities.

Free digital services training will be offered throughout the city, covering residential communities, cultural centers, libraries and other public facilities.

More than 1,700 volunteers have been recruited as “digital service promoters” and “information services assistants” to provide on-site and one-on-one help.

The Digital Partner campaign is part of the city’s blueprint to boost its digital transformation, released during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference 2021 in Shanghai this month.

The blueprint targets Shanghai’s transformation into a world-class innovative digital hub by 2023, covering 12 special projects and 40 key tasks.

By 2023, Shanghai aims for the value of its core digital economy to exceed 600 billion yuan (US$93 billion), and be home to 100 digital economy and Internet industry leaders and 50 cyber traffic-driven firms, each with a market value over 10 billion yuan, Wu Jincheng, chairman of the Shanghai Commission of Economy and Informatization, said at the WAIC.

“We will establish the city’s own high-quality standards and ecosystem for artificial intelligence and the digital economy based on local advantages. We will test applications like AI text books and driverless taxis on city streets,” said Wu.

By 2023, the city plans to welcome 100 key technologies, more than 100 standardized algorithm-driven and over 100 smart hardware products. It also intends to attract 100,000 algorithm developers.


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