Mar 23, 2018Lysa is an AI chatbot that helps people achieve healthier eating habitsDISRUPTORS: The ideas changing industries

With people often losing interest in health tracking apps after a few weeks, Lysa is a chatbot nutritionist, which has been designed with a human touch to keep users engaged with their diets. Showcased at the WIRED Health event in March 2018, which hosted some of the industry’s most innovative health start-ups, we explore the insights behind Lysa, and understand how it’s humanising AI to help people form – and maintain – healthier eating habits.

Mica AnthonyMica Anthony is a content writer with a passion for fashion and all things beauty, who has written for the likes of gal-dem and WAVE Magazine. When she’s not trawling social media for her next fashion look, she’s expanding her Depop empire or discovering an emerging music producer.

Created by digital health expert Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Lysa is an AI nutritionist that’s designed to make knowing what, when, and where to eat “as easy as discovering a great new song on Spotify.” Using Facebook Messenger, Lysa is an AI-powered bot that uses natural language, GIFs and emojis to keep people engaged when giving them tailored nutritional advice. Users can ask Lysa what the healthiest option is at their favourite food chain, get general tips on a balanced diet, and even get advice on how to recover from a hangover. Combining the information that people input (their goals, food restrictions, and serving sizes) with its understanding of natural human language, Lysa understands conversational phrasing such as ‘I had an avocado and two slices of toast’, and log this as part of a person’s progress, all the while making recommendations on how to improve their diets.

Lysa brings a human touch to encourage better dietsLouis Kang, Creative Commons (2017)

“We’re trying to provide people with the tailored support you’d get from a nutritionist, but day-to-day, so they can make the right decision when it comes to food in the moment,” says Le Cunff. As people come to demand more customised healthcare services, Lysa is a solution that’s convenient, seamless and integrated, all within an app that 800 million people already use.

Lysa’s point of difference is its very personal – almost colloquial – nature. By interacting with users in a human-like manner, it’s able to offer relevant information to the 58% of people who are frustrated when brands don’t deliver personalised experiences. The fact that Lysa utilises machine learning is also appealing to the 67% of people who believe that AI can have a positive impact on their lives. By making healthcare accessible without a nutritionist’s physical presence, services such as Lysa are empowering people to know more about their health and manage it with confidence.

Mica Anthony is an editorial assistant at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. She’s passionate about uncovering the newest electronic music producers, re-living questionable ‘90s fashion trends, and building her Depop empire.

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