"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Do you have got questions on health? Ask SARAH, an AI healthcare assistant

April 10, 2024 – Do you have got health questions on proper nutrition, managing stress, or ways to quit smoking? You can ask SARAH and she is going to answer.

SARAH is a brand new interactive artificial intelligence resource from the World Health Organization. SARAH can even provide details about mental health, cancer, heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

I asked, “What is a healthy weight for a man who is 5’7” tall?”

“The ideal weight for a man who is 5'7″ tall varies depending on aspects akin to age, muscle mass and general health,” said SARAH. “It's necessary to give attention to maintaining a healthy lifestyle reasonably than a selected number on a scale.” She then offered weight management resources.

SARAH, which stands for Smart AI Resource Assistant for Health, replaces an earlier version. Florence is designed to answer questions about COVID-19 and dispel myths about vaccinations. Florence was trained on a limited health database, but SARAH uses Open AI's large GPT (Generative Pretrained Transformer) language model to answer a broader range of health questions.

The healthcare assistant speaks many languages ​​and is designed to be as culturally sensitive and unbiased as possible. “Addressing cultural and health disparities worldwide is critical to the long-term success of SARAH,” said Katerina Botsiou, communications advisor at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

SARAH can speak eight languages, making it “more accessible to different populations.” The technology is trained on data from the World Health Organization and trusted partners “to ensure culturally sensitive results,” Botsiou said.

Giving AI a persona that can show emotions is a big step forward compared to a text-only chatbot, said Brian Anderson, MD, CEO of the Coalition for Health AI (CHAI). The Coalition is a group of AI stakeholders working to help others develop safe and effective uses of AI in healthcare.

“Esthetic, [S.A.R.A.H.] is fascinating. The ability to indicate a human face and mannerisms… is de facto compelling,” he said. The technology provides each visual and non-visual cues that mimic human conversations, he said. It also helps that SARAH meets people where they're by way of language, culture and education level.

SARAH appears as a girl in her late 20s with brown eyes, pulled-back brown hair and a blue T-shirt. Her facial features changes whenever you “talk” to her, her skin wrinkles and her eyes blink. She also appears to sway, as if shifting her weight from one foot to the opposite.

“As long as the way AI is used is to help an individual deal with a complex health issue, that's a wonderful thing,” said Anderson, who was not involved in SARAH's development

SARAH is accessible 24/7. So when she gives advice on get an excellent night's sleep, her answer is more more likely to be, “Do as I say” than “Do as I do.”

There are some challenges in developing the technology, Botsiou said. They have adjusted the AI ​​algorithms to make them more accurate, ensure their data is solid, and maintain strict privacy and security measures.

As impressive because the technology is, some facial expressions and pauses in conversation remind us that SARAH continues to be a piece in progress. There is a crucial disclaimer on the SARAH website that the knowledge may not all the time be correct. It stays to be seen whether the answers she gives are reliable and reproducible, Anderson said.

The technology relies on generative AI, so it learns and evolves over time.

The WHO didn't do it alone. It worked with a technology company called Soul Machines Limited and a creative company called Rooftop to develop SARAH and supply “authentic, human-like responses.” WHO plans to maintain an in depth eye on SARAH and issue regular updates to maintain the technology transparent, accountable and ethical.

Visit the World Health Organization Get to know the SARAH website and switch in your device's microphone and speaker to check out SARAH.