AI Can Be Used To Solve for Autism

I hate the puzzle. As a mom and a data-driven person, I don’t understand why we cannot solve for the autism puzzle when 1 in 59 children in the US are diagnosed with autism and the diagnoses are increasing exponentially. I hear it’s so variable, so multi-factorial and if you meet one individual on the spectrum, you meet one person on the spectrum. True. But have we ever shied away for solving for multi-faceted problems for brands who were willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single measurement project? I would argue that we do have the statistical skills and life science knowledge to solve for autism. We lack the data.

We lack the kind of robust datasets that connect the dots between all that our children are exposed to and all that they show and do. When we have these threads of data, we can test for a myriad of variances simultaneously leveraging AI driven data science platforms. While a typical scientific study may be testing 1-5 hypotheses, we can go through 100s of hypotheses with AI in one study and quickly improve upon our knowledge.

My hope is for organizations such as the NJ Autism Center of Excellence, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Duke University, Epidemic Answers and others (e.g., ABA agencies) who are at the frontiers of this issue to be able to pool the data we need in this field. We need to understand why our children are having sensory motor issues that lead to behaviors. We need to tease out the environment’s impact on autism. And we need to empower our practitioners to optimize on therapies (ABA, speech, OT) and alternative interventions (homeopathy, neuro feedback, acupressure, etc. ) so that our children can have happy, productive lives.

AI-Driven Therapies

If you needed a bit of help and support, would you be more likely to talk to a robot than a live therapist? WoeBot and Wysa apps are just two apps at the forefront of AI-based therapies providing patients with cognitive behavior therapy on demand.

Wondering how the idea would resonate, I pressure tested this concept among my family and friend circle. Guess what happened: the introverts lit up at the idea! For them, opening up to a person who might layer more judgment and stress to the process (however unintentional it may be) was adding to their emotional burden. Talking to a ‘machine’ to get answers was actually opening up the path to therapy for these individuals. Of course we still need to see data on how effective the bots are vs live therapists— broken across issues and challenges. Then there is the issue of insurance coverage and process. Maybe this is a good way to side step it all!

If AI-based therapy helps people who otherwise would not have sought help, wouldn’t we be closer to finding balance and peace? What do you think?

Creative Trends According to shutterstock

The royalty-free image site shutterstock has done something really clever by combing through their site data and seeing what photos, videos and music visitors from around the world have been digging up on their site. The insights are depicted here There are some macro highlights: We are moving forward with everyday futurism, getting familiar with VR, AR, wearable tech. We are bringing retro to the future: neon and 80’s are fashionable again. Though global differences are most intriguing: Brazilians are into romantic images, Argentineans into fish, Turks into geometry.

Inclusive Design

Inclusive will be the defining word of 2019. Inclusive therapies, inclusive work places, and finally inclusive design. The word acknowledges diversity and encapsulates acceptance. The way our world should be and the way technologies should help bring us together. Call it a rise of mindfulness, call it a reaction to the reappearance of social fissures we all thought were long gone and sealed. It’s good. Here’s a clip of Microsoft’s Satya Nadella explaining how inclusion should be a preliminary step of product design as opposed to an after thought or add on. Right on!  

(Video credit: LinkedIn)

A Female Super Hero from Anatolia: Puduhepa

Word of mouth marketing expert Renan Tan Tavukcuoglu started an amazing campaign to introduce a strong female figure to young girls, starting from Turkey spreading globally. This is the story of Puduhepa, a Hittite queen who lived in Anatolia 3,000 plus years ago. The project not only weaves a beautiful story, but the sales of the Puduhepa dolls and story book contribute towards young girls’ education.

Here’s Baris Ozcan’s great video with subtitles in English.

MSFT: Removing Barriers to AI

As underscored in Axios’s Login newsletter today, Microsoft is gearing up for a series of AI initiatives. One of them is the acquisition of Lobe that enables organizations to build AI apps and interfaces without needing to know how to code. Imagine how many departments’ ideas can now come to life more easily — from employee training, customer service communication to patient monitoring. Watch this trend as AI becomes the underlying technology in b-to-c and b-to-b service.

A Blockchain – Illustrated

You may wonder what’s so different about a Blockchain, having already used so many peer-to-peer networks. The biggest hope is that it will bring transparency to connections in a supply chain. And each block player will have ownership of its own data – which will be cemented in time, unchanged once entered to the chain. The hype is its security – it is not, as evidenced by cryptocurrency crimes.

Illustration credit: Greg Kessler