(MENAFN- Qatar Foundation ) Doha, Qatar, 14 May 2024: Artificial Intelligence is going change the face of health-focused technology, said Will Ahmed, Founder & CEO of WHOOP, in a talk today at Qatar Foundation.
Held as part of the Education City Speaker Series, the moderated discussion, titled “Sports, Health, and Tech: Building a Wearable for the Future,” took place at Multaqa (Education City Student Center) and explored the future of innovation in the area of health and wellness.
Explaining how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already a key component of the WHOOP technology, he said: “WHOOP has always used AI in a lot of our algorithms. I think the piece that’s most new for WHOOP, and also the whole world, is generative AI. And a lot of the large language models that allow you to interact very seamlessly within AI.
“WHOOP has been at the forefront of this – we were the first wearable company to partner with OpenAI. We now have a coach in the WHOOP app you can interact with and ask questions about your data, such as what your workout of the day should be, or when you should go to bed, or why are you feeling run down, or if you’re getting sick. These are the questions you can now ask WHOOP, and it will answer based on your data and a lot of the population data that WHOOP has access to.”
But according to the entrepreneur, AI will allow wearable technology to continue to evolve eventually transforming into becoming a wearer’s 24/7 coach, trainer, nutritionist, and doctor.
“I think the power of health monitoring is that it will be able to predict illnesses, heart attacks, strokes, diseases and all sorts of things,” he said. “And I do feel in the next three to five years we are going to see this massive golden age for health awareness.
“I really believe we're going to see an unbelievable growth in preventative medicine.”
Ahmed grew up playing sports, and this is where the idea of WHOOP stemmed from. “I played squash at Harvard, so I saw what it was like to train as a competitive athlete, and the experience of training as an athlete made me feel like there wasn’t a lot of information on what I was doing to my body.
“I was somebody who used to overtrain, but there were other athletes who would undertrain. So, I found myself getting very interested in what you could measure about the human body. And as I was doing more and more research, I became interested in a few different types of technology that existed, but I thought they were obtrusive or uncomfortable to use.”
And those technologies, according to Ahmed, included electrocardiogram, which can predict your heart rate variability; the PSG machine, which measures sleep; and the chest strap, which is a heart rate monitor that is often used during exercise.
“I looked at these technologies and looked at all of my research around things like heart rate variability, heart rate and movement during exercise, and thought, ‘This is a very interesting combination of data.’”
But, he explained, it was difficult to gain access to this technology as it was expensive, cumbersome, and uncomfortable. “So that was a question for me – is it possible to build technology to replace these pieces of medical technology? Is it possible to replace them and, if put in place, is there a business opportunity?
“One benefit of being a student is that you can you spend time exploring questions and that is really what I was doing during my four years at Harvard. And I think along the way, I found myself trying to build the confidence to start a company.”


Qatar Foundation

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