Episode 6 – Quantifying Aging and the Use of Technologies, an Interview With Dr. Stephen Katz


Today we talk to Dr. Stephen Katz, Ph.D., a Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology, Distinguished Research Award winner, and founding member of the Trent Centre for Aging & Society, at Trent University, Peterborough, Canada. He is the author of several books, journal articles, book chapters, and media interviews on aging bodies, critical gerontology, biopolitics, cognitive impairment, and health technologies. His current research involves partnerships and collaborations on funded projects related to quantified aging and digital technologies, as well as a new book project on Self, Mind, and Body in Later Life.

More about today’s guest

Dr. Stephen Katz

We’re all aging, and everyone’s talking about it!

Key Takeaways

[:39] Jenna introduces today’s guest and we launch today’s interview by asking Dr. Katz to tell us a bit more about the ACT Project.

[3:25] Dr. Katz talks about how his current research integrates into all three aspects of the ACT Project, as well as some of his offshoot interests in Boomer music!

[5:51] We ask Dr. Katz to dive deeper into the communications aspect of his research and he explains how the three aspects of the projects were eventually developed.

[8:07] What is the Quantified Self Movement? Stephen explains how that phenomenon drove his use of the term “Quantified Aging” as a way to explain a new set of cultural practices that are shaping aging and the research he has been leading on this front.

[12:32] We ask if Dr. Katz actually tests the devices and he shares all of the areas of research he’s involved in, from code design to walking ethnography.

[15:19] What is Dr. Katz’s take on the potential for technologies to increase independence in the future.

[19:14] Emily asks if Stephen sees a way for technology to help change the image in the culture around aging.

[23:25] We talk about technologies problematizing and stigmatizing aging as well as the elitist, caucasian, heteronormative language and imagery used to promote programs.

[31:52] Stephen touches on the improvements he would like to see in terms of responsible, socially contextualized technologies as well as a real commitment by tech companies to offer tested products to older markets.

[34:22] We ask Dr. Katz to weigh in on the sources and effects of the Neoliberal narrative and policies on health and aging.

[40:46] Emily goes off script again and asks Dr. Katz to talk about his research around gaming and brain plasticity, and weigh in on the possibility of us being able to change, improve, and protect our own brains from decline.

[47:24] We ask Dr. Katz to share his thoughts on data privacy issues as they pertain to the use wearable technology as well all the impacts of the bigger companies’ involvement in the healthcare field.

[55:36] What legacy is Dr. Katz hoping to leave behind with his research?

[59:59] We thank Dr. Katz for coming on the podcast. Until next time, subscribe, rate, and share!

Mentioned in this episode

The MileAge Podcast

ACT Project