June 20, 2024

Enhancing Mind-Body Harmony: WHO’s SARAH AI Tool Arrives in Town

“Hi! I am Sarah. It’s so nice to meet you. Human health is my specialty, and I want everyone to live a healthier life. There is so much to talk about, from tobacco products, alcohol to healthy living and mental health. Is there anything specific you want to talk about?,” this is the welcome note of S.A.R.A.H, the a digital health promoter prototype with enhanced empathetic response powered by generative artificial intelligence (AI).

World Health Organization (WHO) announced the launch of S.A.R.A.H. ahead of World Health Day, focused on ‘My Health, My Right’.

S.A.R.A.H. is a Smart AI Resource Assistant for Health that represents an evolution of AI-powered health information avatars, using new language models and cutting-edge technology.

Whether it’s your mental health or physical activity, it can engage users 24 hours a day on multiple health topics, on any device.

Info on major health topics
WHO’s digital health promoter is trained to provide information across major health topics, including healthy habits and mental health, to help people optimise their health and well-being journey.

It aims to provide an additional tool for people to realise their rights to health, wherever they are.

“S.A.R.A.H., also known as Sarah, has the ability to support people in developing better understanding of risk factors for some of the leading causes of death in the world, including cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes. She can help people access up-to-date information on quitting tobacco, being active, eating a healthy diet, and de-stressing among other things,” said WHO in a statement.

WHO added that she uses generative AI as a base and has been trained with the latest information from the World Health Organization and trusted partners.

The technology
Sarah was created with technology developed by San Francisco and New Zealand based Digital People company Soul Machines Limited with support from South African-based creative company Rooftop.

“The future of health is digital, and supporting countries to harness the power of digital technologies for health is a priority for WHO,” said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement.

“S.A.R.A.H. gives us a glimpse of how artificial intelligence could be used in future to improve access to health information in a more interactive way. I call on the research community to help us continue to explore how this technology could narrow inequities and help people access up-to-date, reliable health information.”

While AI has enormous potential to strengthen public health, it also raises important ethical concerns, including equitable access, privacy, safety and accuracy, data protection, and bias.

Dynamic personalised conversations
WHO added that S.A.R.A.H. is now powered by generative AI rather than a pre-set algorithm or script. This will help her to provide more accurate responses in real-time; engage in dynamic personalised conversations at scale that more accurately mirror human interactions.

She can also provide nuanced, empathetic responses to users in a judgement-free environment. ​​The technology is supported by Soul Machines Biological AI.

WHO added that continuous evaluation and refinement as part of this project emphasise the organisation’s dedication to bringing health information closer to people while maintaining the highest standards of ethics and evidence-based content.

Developers, policy makers and health care providers need to address these ethics and human rights issues when developing and deploying AI to ensure that all people can benefit from it.

Previous iterations of S.A.R.A.H. were used to disseminate critical public health messages, under the name Florence, during the COVID-19 pandemic on the virus, vaccines, tobacco use, healthy eating and physical activity.

Source: https://thesouthfirst.com/