In September 2017, Microsoft announced the launch of its new healthcare division at its Cambridge research facility, to use its artificial intelligence software to enter the health market. Only in two months, the FDA cleared the first medical device accessory for Apple Watch, Alivecor’s Kardiaband. A few months earlier, Apple had also launched an initiative called the Apple Heart Study in partnership with Stanford Medicine. Moreover, in December 2017, Tim Cook & Co. announced the development of an advanced heart-monitoring feature for future versions of its smartwatch. The latest news in January 2018 was that Apple is bringing health records to iPhones. After all these steps, is it so far-fetched to think that Apple might soon turn Siri into a medical chatbot that alerts you if something is wrong?
The Mental Health Foundation is championing better mental health through the increased use of digital health interventions, in a six-country European Union partnership.
Partner countries: UK, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Ireland and France.
Funder: Interreg North-West Europe Innovation Programme
Funding: €5.3 million (£4.4 million)
Timescale: May 2016 – June 2019
Contact: Iris Elliott, Head of Policy and Research at the Mental Health Foundation, on email@example.com
What the project will achieve?
Currently, the average use of e-mental health within the partner countries is 8% (the lowest being France at 1% and the highest the Netherlands at 15%). The average will have increased to:
15% by the end of the project
at least 25% five years after the project finishes
60% 10 years after the project finishes.
The EU average for unmet need is currently 6.8%; this will be reduced by 2% five years after the projects and by 4% 10 years afterwards.
The age of talking algorithms is here
Last week, Google stunned the world with the latest feature of the Google Assistant, Duplex, that was able to make an appointment in a hair salon in eerily human-sounding conversational sentences.
Chatbots, computer programs or smart algorithms conducting conversation via auditory or textual methods, are becoming more and more popular and widespread. Do you want to know more dad jokes? Read
the latest news? Figure out riddles? Plenty of messenger bots offer forms of entertainment.
Moreover, chatbots are even surpassing into the territory of humans: empathy and feelings. Do you need a friend when you feel lonely? Have a chat with Replika, your A.I. friend to whom you can tell everything about your life. Or talk to Woebot, a little algorithmic assistant aiming to improve mood. It promises to meaningfully connect with you, to show bits and pieces of empathy while giving you a chance to talk about your troubles and have some counseling back in return. Just as a human psychologist does. Do you rather want to get connected to a human coach instantly? Turn to Ginger!