menu

Can We Reverse Diabetes Through Lifestyle GPS?

Can We Reverse Diabetes Through Lifestyle GPS?
Health

We speak to the co-founder of an AI startup aimed at ridding the world of diabetes

Ido Lechner
  • 9 february 2016

When IBM’s Watson made its debut winning Jeopardy back in 2011, runner-up Brad Rutter attested to the machine’s capacity saying, “I for one welcome our robot overlords.” Though the loser paints a grim picture of what artificial intelligence might ultimately end up looking like in a distant and unimaginable future, Watson has proven a friend to humanity in the years following his triumph.

In the past couple of years, artificial intelligence has shifted from the futurist’s favorite buzzword to an evident business trend. Leveraging the power of computation to make sense of big data empowers hundreds of startups by capacitating deep levels of user customization and interaction for moral good. Take Suggestic for example, a corporate newcomer using AI to help pre-diabetics and those with Type 2 diabetes steer clear of the disease.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.08.11 PM.png

By tailoring suggestions around an individual’s dietary preference and nutritional portfolio, the chat-like app essentially becomes your ‘lifestyle GPS,’ providing actionable suggestions in the right place at the right time. We got a chance to speak with the company’s co-founder and CMO Shai Rosen to map out the ways in which the company is informing people of the causes and dangers of diabetes while simultaneously helping them curve their sugary cravings.

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 1.08.29 PM.png

“Contrary to what you learned in school, genes are not fixed,” reads Suggestic’s site.

“They have ‘switches’ that turn them on and off… and are reversible through a set of lifestyle changes that fit your unique needs. The challenging part is that our genome contains millions of these ‘switches,’ so it’s no surprise that without deep personalization most programs out there don’t seem to work.

At Suggestic, we have developed technology that helps address these shortcomings.”

The company was originally conceived when the cofounders identified their desire to build a platform that merges the collective human intelligence (Rosen referred to it as ‘crowd-sourced intellect’) with AI. Having spent the last 15 to 20 years in the field by Rosen’s estimate, cofounder and CEO Victor Chapela was perfectly comfortable turning their dream into a reality. After juggling between multiple use cases, the two landed on a subject close to home: diabetes; given that they themselves are pre-diabetic and that a rather large market share exists and is ripe for the taking, the rest was a no-brainer.

The app works in two stages, what Rosen describes as an input stage and output stage. When you first sign up, you’re prompted with various fields that ask for basic information such as height, weight and so forth. Fortunately, you can skip this process by importing data through Apple health or other health trackers compatible with the app. Of course, the more data points you enter the more customized the approach—and the app is capable of screening and comprehending tons of information; you can even submit a DNA test.

suggestic_app_timeline.png

The second stage is more ongoing than the first in that the app’s counseling evolves with the user. Crunching the data, the AI generates a ‘health cloud’ of all of your data points, be it your basal metabolic rate, gut microbiome, blood and saliva biomarkers, special response to certain fats or protein and so forth. It will also confirm your responses to certain suggestions to improve upon its recommendations.

“The idea here is simply to make your life easy. If you don’t like a recommendation, the app will filter it out for next time and put something equally healthy [for you as an individual] in its place,” says Rosen.

And make your life easy it does. Beyond simple suggestions of what you should be eating, the app reminds you when it’s time to take certain pills, be active and so forth. It even composes a shopping list based on your wants and needs to take home and make delicious food using one of over a million recipes filtered to your precise requirements. When you’re not close to home or are simply eating out, location tracking will help you pick out the right items from over 500,000 registered restaurants.

“The main component of healthcare industry disruption is the power of personal computing. There’s so much knowledge and information out there and there’s enough tech that we can hyper-specify it to individuals. That’s impossible for a single person, even doctors,” asserts Rosen.

Indeed, the CMO is on to something: when we think of health, we tend to have a cookie-cutter approach to what is good for us and what isn’t. What sets Suggestic apart from the competition is this realization that that’s simply not true: what works for you might be sending someone else to the emergency room.

Though the co-founders are still working out a long-term vision for the company, they’re excited to unveil their beta come April. Right now they’re contemplating whether Suggestic should expand into other branches of health, or dive even deeper into diabetes. Rosen is interested in exploring the possibility of creating another side of the platform to help doctors assist patients using the data that collected by the app.

“If doctors are humans, we want to make them superhuman. We don’t want to replace them altogether, we want to give them the tools to make their work better and more efficient. The industry still needs that human touch, there’s still so much to do even from a regulatory perspective.”

If nothing else, Suggestic is a prime example of artificial intelligence done right. With proper execution, we won’t need to fear computers like Watson; we’ll be putting them to use to better humanity and the planet we live in.

Suggestic

Health
Trending

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Mobile august 26, 2016

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising august 26, 2016

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising august 26, 2016

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work august 26, 2016

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design august 26, 2016

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia august 26, 2016

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising august 26, 2016

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.