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Diske wants to put a personal health assistant in your pocket

The company’s aim is to improve public health and help prevent so-called diseases of affluence like obesity.Istock.com/Martinina

This Finnish company is creating a pioneering AI that will provide its users with science-based and personalised lifestyle guidance.

AI. Big data. Machine learning. Technologies and concepts that contain the power to renew and remodel seemingly any industry – including wellness.

So at least believes Diske, a Finnish company that is using these tools to build a novel approach to personal health and wellbeing. The firm is creating an advanced AI that promises to offer highly effective wellness advice to each user individually.

At the core of the AI is data from authoritative sources such as clinical research and national dietary guidelines. But rather than relying solely on third-party data, the software will also take into account feedback from individual users regarding their subjective experience on their wellbeing. Thanks to this, each user will receive advice that is personalised to them specifically.

In other words, Diske is aiming to build a service that is far more comprehensive and personalised than what exists in the current market of health-focused apps and chatbots.

“Because we combine general and personal data, our AI will be able to give suggestions that reflect each user’s own preferences and experiences,” says Timo Kettunen, founder and CEO of Diske. “At the moment, most healthtech products rely on simple predetermined models, whereas our AI can dynamically analyse data and offer recommendations even as situations change.”

And this, Kettunen says, is the key in helping people make a lasting lifestyle change.

Virtual personal trainer

Kettunen points to professional personal trainers, who tweak their dietary and exercise programs practically for every client.

“There is no universal model that works equally well for everyone,” he says. “If users receive advice that takes into account their own preferences, this will support their own experience of wellbeing and will further help them stick to the recommendations.”

The company’s AI goes by the name of Bono. Image: Diske

So far Diske’s main focus has been on building its AI – called Bono – which is based on what Kettunen calls a “modular neural network”. This serves as a foundation, upon which the company will be able to build many kinds of services in the future.

Ultimately Diske aims to create a virtual health assistant that is always with the user – think of a Tamagotchi-style mobile app that collects data about your daily activities and gives advice on how you could improve your wellness.

Taking wellbeing abroad

2018 promises to be a big year for Diske, which was founded in 2014 and currently has a couple of employees in addition to Kettunen. After a long development period, which included pilots and other collaborations with several partners including Fazer and HUS (the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa), Diske is preparing to roll out products for both health professionals and consumers later this year.

The consumer app will also be made available internationally, and the company is hoping to capture a large part of the growing industry of personal wellbeing, thanks to the unique solution it will introduce to the global market.

Diske’s ambitions, however, go beyond business success

“Hopefully we will contribute to the improvement of public health generally, and help prevent so-called diseases of affluence like obesity,” Kettunen says. “I also hope our products will improve health awareness generally, and empower people in making their own choices when it comes to personal wellbeing.”

CEO and founder Timo Kettunen Image: Diske
By: Teemu Henriksson