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Wednesday, April 7 • 10:45am - 11:20am
Novel Technologies for Behavior Change Design: Digital Charisma

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In the 1990 racing movie "Days of Thunder" a crew chief talks to his newly built race car. As he gently explains the need for optimum performance on race day he’s met with the sound of an engine oil leak to which he stares at the car disappointingly and says, “This was not the answer I was looking for from you.” This probably sounds more familiar than strange. We humans have been talking to machines for a long time. Now, we’ve reached a point where our real life creations are talking back. The explosion in conversational agents like Siri, Alexa, Tess are as ubiquitous as smartphones and have entered the health space as virtual proxies of knowledge and guidance. These agents are desperately needed. ⅔ of people worldwide suffer from chronic diseases that are preventable and the result of poor health behaviors in sleep, nutrition, and exercise. The problem is beyond that of building good habits. Users need daily, personalized interaction through an ever-present, intelligent, and responsive bot to promote intentional, health behaviors. Bots have to be part of the solution as there simply aren’t enough human experts to meet the demand. Unfortunately the current health bot landscape has bogged down around use cases of either recording biodata or simple instruction. Much like the fictional health robot Baymax these bots are soft spoken, passive, and polite. I argue that more effective, persuasive bots can result from a focus on creating AI models that express more personality, or “digital charisma.” Humans exhibit a wide array of emotions. Bots able to appropriately respond with traits perceived as frustration, surprise, excitement, curiosity, anxious concern, and humor can create a stronger emotional bond between agent and human. Trust and emotional appeal are powerful ways to persuade users down specific behavior paths.

avatar for Dustin DiTommaso

Dustin DiTommaso

SVP, Behavior Change Design, Mad*Pow
Dustin is Senior Vice President of Behavior Change Design at Mad*Pow. A designer and researcher, Dustin’s work involves the study and application of behavioral and decision science, motivational psychology, and human-computer interaction to the design of technology-assisted behavior... Read More →

avatar for Ravi Komatireddy

Ravi Komatireddy

CEO, Motiv Health Inc.
Dr. Ravi Komatireddy is a digital health entrepreneur who is currently the Founder and CEO of Motiv Health Inc, a startup passionately focused on using human and AI coaches for health behavior change. He is an Internal Medicine physician who trained at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical... Read More →

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:45am - 11:20am EDT
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