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Joseph F. Coughlin
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Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD is Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. Based in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division he teaches policy and systems innovation. Dr. Coughlin’s research focuses on how businesses, governments and complex socio-technical systems respond to changing disruptive demographic trends, evolving lifestyles and new technologies. He is one of Fast Company Magazine’s ‘100 Most Creative People in Business’ and was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of “12 pioneers inventing the future of aging and how we will all live, work and play tomorrow.” He was appointed by President Bush to the White House Conference on Aging Advisory Committee. Dr. Coughlin has advised numerous governments around the world, the World Economic Forum, and the OECD. A Fellow of Switzerland’s World Demographics & Ageing Forum he is a frequent speaker to groups of 10 to 10,000 and consults to businesses worldwide on consumer-centered product innovation and market strategy.

Entries by Joseph F. Coughlin

Old Age? Science Suggests It's Not that Bad

(1) Comments | Posted July 16, 2015 | 1:28 PM

Well-being, happiness, thriving, and other buzzwords can have a variety of different meanings in and outside of the scientific community. Well-being is no longer just a personal state of being, it is a serious question in science. The science of well-being is a growing field focusing on more than physical...

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Grandma's Choice: High-Tech Safety Or Privacy?

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2015 | 3:13 PM

Old age and new technology -- a combination of words that stimulates the imagination with visions of great promise and potential to improve the quality of life of everyone in advanced age. My MIT AgeLab colleague Luke Yoquinto and I published a somewhat disturbing scenario in...

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When Robots Begin to Care

(0) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 5:02 PM

This past week, in an article titled "Be Calm, Robots Aren't About to Take Your Job, MIT Economist Says," the Wall Street Journal spoke with my colleague, economist David Autor, on the subject of robotics and the labor force. Autor provided a number of compelling reasons not to...

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Millennials Want to Close the Generation Gap When Talking Finance

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 5:54 PM

The parents of Baby Boomers sometimes learned the hard way that their opinions and advice were not always welcome. But in an ironic generational twist, the children of Baby Boomers are proving more inclined to turn to their grandparents for advice -- at least when it comes to learning about...

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What Health and Finance Can Learn From the Quantified Self Movement and Each Other

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 2:12 PM

The autumn tech rumor mill is in full swing. Apple is said to be releasing or announcing some form of "iWatch." The new wearable computer, burnishing the Apple patina, is rumored to be capable of measuring the user's blood pressure, hydration level, heart rate, steps taken, etc. Some...

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Is Your City Age-Ready?

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 7:04 PM

Two trends are converging -- urbanization and aging. Significant investments are being made to make cities sustainable, less congested, competitive, even smarter. While laudable goals, cities are complex socio-technical systems that are designed to support people, their activities (economic as well as social) and ultimately quality...

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Grandma's Big Data, Privacy and Your Future Choices

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2013 | 4:02 PM

Big data is, well, big -- it is in the news, every business is trying to understand how to use it, some firms just discovered they have it, and recently it has gained agenda status as an issue of public policy and personal privacy. Individually we...

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A World Where You Own Nothing: Welcome to the Usership Economy

(17) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 11:37 AM

Imagine a world where you own nothing. No, this is not an aging baby boomer flashback of a John Lennon tune, it is the evolving economic and social reality of 'usership' that is set to transform markets, consumer behavior -- even retirement planning.

Since caves were our castles, consumption has...

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Hostess Twinkies and Three Lessons About Brand & Innovation

(2) Comments | Posted November 28, 2012 | 6:52 PM

Twinkies and the Hostess family of sweet treats that included Ding Dongs, Devil Dogs, Ring Dings and Ho Hos died this month. Bankrupt after eight decades of operation. Hostess produced an estimated 500 million Twinkies and 127 million loaves of Wonder Bread a year. These products have filled...

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Big Questions for Big Data

(1) Comments | Posted November 26, 2012 | 6:27 PM

Not long ago we had to creatively generate data to inform strategy, planning, decisions and public policy. Today we are swimming in data. It's everywhere and being created by nearly everything. From mobile phone GPS signals, video from the corner camera, electricity use, traffic counts to seemingly infinite posts on...

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If You Build It, Will They Come? Robot Cars, Infrastructure and Policy Innovation

(2) Comments | Posted September 27, 2012 | 4:21 PM

Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed a bill Tuesday that made the state the third after Nevada and Florida to legally sanction self-driving vehicles. But, believe it or not, a seemingly unrelated announcement from Monday may hold greater implications for how autonomous vehicles can get out of beta...

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Eat Less, Live More? Science, the Media and Health Behavior

(3) Comments | Posted September 26, 2012 | 10:28 PM

A new study was released today that puts a question into the public's mind about previous, but popular, research on calorie restriction and longevity. Since the 1930s many leading researchers have hypothesized that a calorie-restricted diet may extend longevity. Simply put, eat less, live more. The work is...

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Will Robot Cars Get Stuck in Policy Traffic?

(24) Comments | Posted August 19, 2012 | 8:37 PM

Imagine cars driving themselves seamlessly and safely down the highway. Gone are traffic jams, crazy drivers, and commute-induced headaches. A vision of the future? Actually, no, this was the vision of the 1939 World's Fair and an idea that has come, come again, and now seems closer than...

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Urbanization Interrupted: Economic Stress and Investing in the Well-being of the Global Megacity

(2) Comments | Posted May 9, 2012 | 1:42 PM

According to the United Nations, more than 50 percent of the world's population now lives in urbanized areas. It is estimated that by 2030 nearly 60 percent of the world's population will become city dwellers. Without question urbanization is a major demographic driver shaping the future of nations,...

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Got Happiness? Where Marketing Meets the Science of Well-Being

(6) Comments | Posted February 10, 2012 | 9:42 AM

Are you happy? Have you noticed the number of companies that are no longer promising the best quality, experience or even the best price for a product or service as the reason to give them a try? Instead they appear to be offering something we used to think money couldn't...

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Sinking Trust

(27) Comments | Posted January 20, 2012 | 6:21 PM

With 4,000 passengers aboard, the Costa Concordia cruise liner ran aground off the coast of Italy. Thus far 21 people are missing and 11 are dead. This was a tragic accident, but perhaps it is evolving into something more than an isolated event of human error and physics...

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