New OpenAI-backed health-tech wants you on your best behaviour

2 days ago

Image: © Flamingo Images/

Thrive AI Health will use AI to improve user health by encouraging changes in behaviour relating to sleep, food, fitness, stress management and connection.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and entrepreneur Arianna Huffington have revealed a new start-up called Thrive AI Health that wants to “hyper-personalise and scale” changes in user behaviour for better overall health.

Funded by the OpenAI Startup Fund and Thrive Global, a health-tech start-up founded by Huffington, Thrive AI Health is pitched as a health coach that “brings the power of behaviour change to the urgent challenge of chronic diseases”.

Altman and Huffington wrote in an op-ed on Time this week that the idea behind the start-up is use AI for more than just efficiency.

“So much of the conversation around AI has been about how much time it will save us and how productive it will make us. But AI could go well beyond efficiency and optimisation to something much more fundamental: improving both our health spans and our lifespans,” they wrote.

“Because health is also what happens between doctor visits. In the same way the New Deal built out physical infrastructure to transform [the US], AI will serve as part of the critical infrastructure of a much more effective healthcare system that supports everyday people’s health in an ongoing way. These are some of the ideas behind Thrive AI Health.”

The platform will use generative AI to improve user health by encouraging changes in behaviour relating to sleep, food, fitness, stress management and connection, with the hope these changes lead to “dramatic improvements” in health outcomes.

DeCarlos Love, a former product leader at Google, will be the CEO of Thrive AI Health. Love has experience in working on several health and fitness products within Google such as Fitbit, Pixel Watch and Wear OS. He also previously worked at Apple and Athos.

Other than the OpenAI Startup Fund and Thrive Global, the Alice L Walton Foundation (named after and run by the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton) will also invest in the company.

Love said that recent advancements in AI present an “unprecedented opportunity” to make behaviour change more powerful and sustainable.

“AI has shown a remarkable ability to assimilate large datasets, extract actionable insights, recognise patterns and deliver personalised recommendations. However, despite these technological advances, the current landscape of large language models still falls short of delivering a truly comprehensive and effective personalised behaviour change and coaching experience.”

“Thrive AI Health is the product to solve the limitations of current AI and LLM-based solutions by providing personalised, proactive and data-driven coaching across the five daily behaviours. This is how it will improve health outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and significantly impact chronic diseases worldwide.”

While companies have been working on utilising the power of AI to personalise healthcare, it’s not without its risks. A study in 2023 highlighted the risk of biased content when it looked at some of the biggest large language models (LLMs) on the market, including OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.

Meanwhile, cybersecurity and the protection of private data remains a concern as AI is integrated into more systems. Another study from last year highlighted this issue, noting that massive datasets are generally required to train AI models, which raises concerns around “data security and privacy”.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic