$5.1 million for research into artificial intelligence to improve health outcomes

Published: 19 August 2022

3 international research projects led by Aotearoa New Zealand research teams have been awarded a total of $5.1 million to explore how artificial intelligence (AI) could provide improved access to healthcare.

The projects will use AI company Soul Machines’ autonomously animated Digital People to explore how this technology could advance the development of Aotearoa New Zealand’s dynamic digital health research ecosystem.

“The world is being shaped by technological advancements, including in artificial intelligence, which are set to revolutionise healthcare,” says Dr Loveday Kempthorne, Manager International Science Policy, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE). “Funded through the Catalyst Fund, the successful Aotearoa New Zealand research teams have partnered with leading international AI and healthcare researchers to explore the potential of Soul Machines’ Digital People to provide more personalised care.”

2 projects will be led through the University of Auckland, with one looking into developing a digital person to provide customised mental health support, and the other looking to support patients with chronic metabolic disease that struggle to understand their condition and how to manage it.

A third project will be led by the University of Canterbury and is looking to create 2-way interactive solutions to aid emotional recognition for those with autism spectrum disorder by combining Soul Machines digital technology with therapeutic approaches.

These projects were selected from a field of high-quality applications. The teams will work to accelerate research into AI and healthcare closely with researchers from around the world, including the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Europe.

“To advance healthcare we need to democratise access and create empathetic, personalized experiences across cultures, languages, and geographic regions that are available 24/7,” said Greg Cross, CEO of Soul Machines. “We’re humbled to play a critical role with MBIE and leading international researchers to accelerate lifesaving research using our humanized AI platform. By making our technology available we can help accelerate research in this field that solves massive worldwide problems. Over a dozen research institutes globally are already ideating on our tech.”

Soul Machines is a world leading AI company, which creates life-like Digital People using their Human OS Platform and Digital Brain technology. Soul Machines’ platform aims to enable researchers and international organisations to leverage the full capabilities of human and machine collaboration.

Research plays an important role in developing ethical applications for AI technologies that provide successful outcomes built on trust and inclusion. Soul Machines is at the forefront of advances in AI and its people are committed to ensuring their technology is used ethically to develop safe, innovative, and creative AI solutions.

MBIE media contact

Email: media@mbie.govt.nz