Talking AI, ChatBots and GHAIA

WTHub is all about conversations, and recently we sat down for one with Phil D. Hall of Cassini Global Health. We’d heard him give a talk about his work on using Artificial Intelligence in healthcare, and at one point he asked the room where the women were, making the point that unless the developers of AI are diverse, the resulting AI won’t be.
So we met with Phil to find out more about what he is doing, and what he thought of our ideas for getting more diversity in SW tech.

It was interesting talking to Phil about how he fell into working with ChatBots, from his first experiences with computers and writing text for games, to setting up his company Elzware that develops systems for human~computer conversations.

Phil is now working with Cassini Health and  and a network of local people to develop GHAIA – software that runs on familiar devices and talks with people with health issues to gather useful information not just for the healthcare professionals treating them but also for lay people offering services and the kith and kin of a person where this is appropriate to their journey to optimal health and wellbeing. The system has three configurations according to the type of condition(s) that a user has; advisor, assistant and advocate.

Phil is keen that these AI/ChatBots don’t pretend to be anything they are not, and incorporate signs that ensure that the human/user is always aware they are talking to a Bot not a human, and are aware of the information they are communicating. GHAIA is now going into Beta development phase and Phil is on a mission to bring in a more diverse set of people to work with him as Cassini develops its products. (n.b. we’ve already sent at least one AI person his way!)

We talked about the issues of lack of women in tech generally and what we might be able to do to encourage  more women who are interested in getting involved with projects like GHAIA – understanding how conversations work, passion and awareness and excitement around tech seem to be the key criteria for Phil.

If would like to know more about working on GHAIA or similar products then get in touch and we will pass on your details.

AI is already out there and being used in such everyday things as those boxes that pop up on shopping websites asking if you need help. There’s an article on BBC tech news (ignore the headline) that can tell you more about the “little digital helpers” that are already out there which “thanks to AI [artificial intelligence] software in the cloud, can chat to humans via text, extract the meaning and then act on it.” Let’s hope that the creators of these are taking the same considered and ethical approaches as Phil and his co-developers.