Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises everything from self-driving cars to self-writing newspapers, but AI may be missing its greatest opportunity in healthcare, where AI-driven “conversational interfaces” hold untapped potential to influence the health and wellbeing of billions of people.

This article was originally published in the Journal of mHealth: The Global Voice of mHealth

Fueled by the massive popularity of messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, “conversational UI” is providing an emerging generation of chat-based digital services that may be the next thing in consumer technology.

Instead of manipulating a graphical interface, users have a conversation with a chat-bot: software that is able to understand and respond to natural language inputs. The pace of technical advances combined with a shift in cultural norms is making AI conversations feel normal for increasing numbers of people.


HOMAS SUTTON Thomas leads frog’s healthcare design practice in Europe, applying person-centered design to the systemic problems of healthcare. His team works with payers, providers, and technology companies to develop innovative medical devices, digital health solutions, and new models of care.


he idea of a “computer you can talk to” has captured the imagination of the computer science community, and the general public, for decades.

Great science fiction characters such as “HAL 9000” from 2001:Space Odyssey and “Samantha” from Her have explored the promise and the risks of this idea. But real-life consumer experiences have tended more towards the comical, perhaps best represented by the “clippy” assistant for Microsoft Office.

However, in the last five years leading technology brands have driven a broader acceptance of conversational interfaces within everyday life: Apple was an early mover with Siri; Google followed with Google Now; Amazon took a slightly different approach with the Echo.

More representative of the current crop of text-based assistants is Facebook M, a general-purpose virtual assistant that “lives” in Facebook messenger and is currently in beta-testing in the US.

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Unlike Siri, M is not voice-powered, but it is able to sustain extended conversations and perform complex tasks, like purchasing products online. Facebook isn’t releasing details about how the technology works, but admits that the AI is still being “trained” by human operators.

There are also many simpler and more specialised chat-based services – and as one might expect, there are a number of companies working on the “AI doctor”, including Babylon Health in the UK.


Read all at the source: Artificial Intelligence Is Your Health Advisor | DesignMind

My point of view:as with many current developments, techno optimists do sometimes exaggerate. The bots will assist you but your own knowledge, opinions of m.d. and observsations of your loved ones will always contribute to your health. And yes, i do have apps for blood pressure, stress management and so and a chatbot would be a small improvement.