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  • Mal McCallion

Therapy from Future You


What would my 83-year old self (above, apparently, via AgingBooth) tell me about my life?


To chill the heck out, apparently.


A study from Cornell University has found that creating an AI avatar of your future self can have profound, positive results on your stress levels. For those aged 18-30, having conversations with their 60-year old selves provided 'future-self continuity' and a feeling of wellbeing, overcoming some of the unknowns via an AI-generated 'synthetic memory', or unique backstory, for each person.


There's positivity here, of course - with 60% of adults saying that anxiety has interfered with their daily lives over the last two weeks (2 weeks!), anything that gets people looking ahead with enthusiasm to overcome their personal challenges has to be a good thing.


But caution, too - at 18, whatever 'synthetic memory' AI projected for my 50-year old self is unlikely to have been anywhere close to what has actually happened. Would it have been comforting to know that I made it, anyway? Yeah. And that, as the old Persian proverb has it, is probably the most valuable visualisation; 'This, too, shall pass.'


'Keep on going; it's going to be OK.' Only in your voice, with wrinkles.


Much is made of a recruitment crisis in property, of a generation coming through that doesn't have the same resilience that older workers claim for themselves. If this is a true reflection, the myriad reasons for it will include digital nativeness and a childhood spent on screens that the older generation created.


This idea could be something that can help - and, perhaps, might be offered alongside gym subs, private helathcare and membership of mindfulness apps such as Calm in your future benefits' package. It's certain that more research is to be done in this area - but it's one that shows potential for some significant societal (and therefore workplace) gains, if we can get it right.

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