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Arianna Huffington Joins Forces with OpenAI for New AI Health Venture

ByHuey Yee Ong

Jul 10, 2024

Arianna Huffington Joins Forces with OpenAI for New AI Health Venture

Thrive AI Health, a new venture backed by Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and the OpenAI Startup Fund, aims to revolutionize health coaching through AI-powered personalized advice on various aspects of lifestyle management.

The initiative seeks to create an AI health coach to offer tailored recommendations on sleep, nutrition, fitness, stress management, and social connections, according to a press release issued Monday.

DeCarlos Love, previously involved in fitness and health experiences at Google’s Fitbit subsidiary, has been appointed CEO of Thrive AI Health. The venture has attracted strategic investments from notable entities, including the Alice L. Walton Foundation, with the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine as one of its initial health partners.

Thrive AI Health plans to utilize scientific research and medical data to train its AI health coach, leveraging collaborations with partners like Stanford Medicine. The AI health coach, described by Huffington and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman in a Time op-ed, will learn from users’ behaviors and provide real-time, personalized health suggestions.

Examples of such recommendations include replacing a third afternoon soda with water and lemon, taking a 10-minute walk with a child after school, or starting a wind-down routine at 10 p.m. for a 6 a.m. flight.

Despite the promising vision, the exact amount of investment in Thrive AI Health remains undisclosed. The venture joins a list of tech industry efforts to develop health-focused AI applications, which have often faced significant business, technical, and regulatory challenges.

Challenges in AI Healthcare Industry

Past attempts like IBM’s Watson Health and Babylon Health encountered substantial hurdles. Watson Health, despite significant investment, failed to deliver efficient results, while Babylon Health, once valued at over $4.2 billion, collapsed after failing to prove its technology’s effectiveness.

AI’s involvement in healthcare has also raised concerns about reinforcing negative stereotypes and biases. Studies have shown that AI models, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT, can perpetuate false beliefs about biological differences between races, and even trained clinicians can be misled by biased AI outputs.

In response to these challenges, Huffington and Altman emphasize Thrive AI Health’s commitment to a more thoughtful and democratized approach to health coaching. They assure that the data used will be peer-reviewed and that users will have control over the information utilized by the AI health coach. The company has appointed Gbenga Ogedegbe, director of NYU Langone’s Institute for Excellence in Health Equity, as an advisor to support this mission.

However, the venture faces the complex task of balancing technology democratization with patient privacy. Historical incidents, such as the unauthorized sharing of patient data by Google’s AI division, DeepMind, and recent data breaches involving companies like UnitedHealth and 23andMe, highlight the risks associated with handling sensitive health information.

Thrive AI Health’s success in navigating these challenges remains to be seen. The venture’s progress will be closely monitored by industry observers and skeptics alike.

Featured Image courtesy of Flickr

Huey Yee Ong

Hello, from one tech geek to another. Not your beloved TechCrunch writer, but a writer with an avid interest in the fast-paced tech scenes and all the latest tech mojo. I bring with me a unique take towards tech with a honed applied psychology perspective to make tech news digestible. In other words, I deliver tech news that is easy to read.

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