OpenAI and Arianna Huffington are building an AI health coach for you

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Arianna Huffington want to leverage artificial intelligence to create a personalized health and wellness coach just for you. The two announced they are forming Thrive AI Health to bring AI-fueled expertise to healthy lives that are adapted to each individual.

Huffington's wellness technology firm Thrive Global and the OpenAI Startup Fund, which invests in young AI companies, are funding and setting up Thrive AI Health, along with strategic investors like the Alice L. Walton Foundation. The company's first healthcare partners are the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine, Stanford Medicine, and the Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute at West Virginia University.

Thrive AI Health is seeking to employ generative AI models like those produced by OpenAI to provide personalized health coaching that improves health outcomes. The expert-level guidance will include advice on improving your sleep, eating, working out, managing stress, and even conducting your social life. The idea is that enhancing these interconnected behaviors will result in healthier habits for each person.

Former Google product management leader DeCarlos Love will serve as CEO, and his background matches the new role. He previously oversaw Fitbit, the Pixel Watch, and Wear OS. It's easy to see the link as Fitbit devices and the Pixel Watch has experimented with coaching tips even if not from an LLM-based AI coach. There's clearly interest in the idea, however, as evidenced by the AI health coach embedded in the recently announced Oura ring.

"Recent advancements in artificial intelligence present an unprecedented opportunity to make behavior change much more powerful and sustainable. AI has shown a remarkable ability to assimilate large datasets, extract actionable insights, recognize patterns, and deliver personalized recommendations," Love said in a statement.

"Thrive AI Health Coach is the product to solve the limitations of current AI and LLM-based solutions by providing personalized, proactive, and data-driven coaching across the five daily behaviors. This is how it will improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and significantly impact chronic diseases worldwide."

AI Coaching Conundum

Thrive AI Health will focus on mental health, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other chronic conditions. Improving daily life for the 129 million Americans affected by at least one chronic condition would be an obvious boon, especially as eight chronic diseases hit all-time highs in 2023.

Thrive AI Health says it can reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases by promoting healthier daily behaviors through personalized AI coaching. The AI Health Coach will employ a personal context engine that processes each individual’s condition and tailors recommendations accordingly. The AI will be trained on peer-reviewed scientific research, biometric data, lab results, and users’ goals, the announcement claims. That includes Thrive Global’s Microsteps methodology and content library.

Of course, this kind of coaching, even personalized with AI, has a noticeable gap. What good are healthy recipes, exercise routines, and sleep suggestions when you don’t have the resources to buy healthy food or when making that money means you no longer have time to make it, let alone work out and get enough sleep?

The AI coach might as well say step one is winning the lottery or adding ten hours to each day. Still, even if all of the life coaching can’t be applied, AI models make the personalized approach to health much easier. It could help with health outcomes overall, especially when the data from the coach is applied to doctor prognoses.

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