AI and Wellness

AI in Health and Wellness: A New Frontier

2023 evokes memories of a transformative era reminiscent of the mid 90’s when the world underwent a seismic shift. Back then, many of us recall the rush to acquire AOL accounts and the sudden emergence of the “internet,” a vast source of information. Teachers cautioned against relying solely on the internet, urging us to cross-reference with library books and encyclopedias.

Fast forward to today, and we find ourselves confronted with a similar sentiment of uncertainty surrounding AI—a novel technology that seems shrouded in mystery.

As for me, I revel in the possibilities new tech can unlock and the directions it can take us. AI elicits a spectrum of emotions, including the fear that it might replace jobs, dehumanize society, or breed complacency. However, I view it through a different lens.

Rather than framing AI as inherently good or bad, I see it as a tool with advantages and drawbacks. While I sincerely hope we don’t veer into the dystopian visions of Skynet or the predictions of “iRobot,” I also recognize its potential to be genuinely helpful.

In health and wellness, AI is another tool in our arsenal, akin to a smartwatch or the latest fitness tracker. A significant concern in the health and wellness sphere revolves around the notion that AI could replace the roles of health coaches, nutritionists, fitness trainers, and others. While it may, to some extent, supplant these roles, it also introduces something incredibly powerful.

AI opens up access to a wealth of services for individuals who might not have the financial means or time to engage with human professionals. Granted, it cannot replicate the empathy and human connection that such experts provide—an element unique to our interactions as human beings.

One glaring issue within the health and wellness industry is its inherent elitism.

Many people find themselves excluded from accessing guidance on healthy behaviors or appropriate advice for their lifestyles. Much of the health and wellness information available caters to upper-middle-income households. Even on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram, influencers often promote expensive foods and products. The response from professionals in this field typically follows the line of,

“You either invest in your health now or pay the price later.”

I’ve often said, “I’ve never met a person who didn’t want to be healthy, but I’ve met many who believed health doesn’t work for them.”

AI emerges as a solution to democratize access to services that have long been out of reach for a significant portion of the population. It empowers individuals to set their budget constraints and tailor a health plan that aligns more closely with their lifestyle. It’s akin to adopting the “Good, Better, Best” model, with AI representing the “Good” option, group programs as the “Better” choice, and private coaching as the “Best” alternative.

As a professional in the health and wellness industry, I see AI as presenting us with two choices: to resist its advancement or to embrace it. History has shown that technology tends to prevail—it’s the nature of the game. Instead of battling it, I advocate embracing AI and leveraging its capabilities to foster healthier habits, irrespective of one’s lifestyle.

I’m eager to hear your thoughts on AI; please feel free to share your comments below.

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