Four For Friday | September 15, 2023
LF81 | Wellby - a better GDP?, the built environment & brain capital, tech & future of care work, dolphins with dementia?
Welcome to a Looking Forward’s Four For Friday. Four things that have piqued my interest this week. Enjoy!
Wellby: A better societal objective than GDP?
Most people agree that maximizing GDP is a uniquely bad objective for both humanity and the environment. In recent conversations I’ve been discussing the idea of a the ‘Pin Koro Index’, which would score a country by how closely they’re able to deliver on the Pin Koro ideal of ‘living long and dying short’, which is effectively a measure of healthspan. Countries would score badly if they have people living for many years with frailty and disease, and do well if people lived robust, vibrant lives until the end.
I recently heard about the Wellby from the World Happiness Report, which is similar; it provides a single score that combines a population’s longevity and its well-being. Explicitly looking at wellbeing rather than health is smart, as just because someone is sick doesn’t mean they’re happy, and vice versa. Downsides of course get into the challenges associated with defining wellbeing, but a fascinating idea, nonetheless.
The impact of the environment on brain capital
A discussion of how the built environment impacts brain capital, including a discussion of “neuro-aesthetics”. There’s growing evidence linking environmental factors directly to brain behavior including:
Air quality impacts cognitive health, access to nature reduces stress and anxiety, novelty in environments can improve memory, exposure to arts can activate dormant synapses in the brain
Tech and the future of work
Tech commentator Laurie Orlov is researching tech and the future of care work. Her mid-point research has surfaced five insights:
Insurers see tech innovation as one way to avert hospitalizations
Staffing shortages drive innovation in care work
AI-enabled caregivers are arriving
Care coordination is still an untapped opportunity
The PERS market size presents a sizable and undefined caregiving variable.
Do dolphins get Alzheimer’s?
Alzheimer’s may be to blame for beached dolphins and whales.
That’s all for this week. As always, feedback welcome. Feel free to share insights or links of interest.