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Technology should not harass the old

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 2020-11-26 07:00


A video showing family members of a 94-year-old woman in Guangshui city, Hubei province, carrying her to a local bank to pass a facial recognition test drew a lot of attention on Saturday. The subtitles said the family was trying to activate the nonagenarian's social security card.

The bank has responded to the public outcry by saying that their staff had apologized for the ordeal the elderly woman underwent.

However, it is sad to see that new technologies introduced to make our lives easier are making life more difficult for some people, mostly elderly people. For example, many offices require users to operate some services on their smartphones, but what if an elderly citizen does not use a smartphone? Many banks require their customers to pass a facial recognition test, but what if that is difficult for a customer to do, as in the Guangshui case?

Elderly people also need bank accounts and they have the right to use or not use the services required by some offices. Technology should serve the people. The authorities should take the abilities of elderly and other vulnerable groups into consideration when making rules and procedures.

By doing so, they will be serving everyone. Earlier this year, the train station at Wuxi, Jiangsu province, opened a special counter for those who have no health code, or do not use a smartphone or those whose phones have run out of battery. This is a good example for others to learn from.

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