Detectives are putting pressure on age-old scientific institutions and researchers are sticking cameras to babies' foreheads.
Welcome to "It's a Healthusiasm World", a newsletter on Health, Business and Technology by Christophe Jauquet.
Every week (almost), I will amplify the positive changes that make our world a little healthier and happier.
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But first, for those who have been subscribed to this newsletter for years, I may have to explain why it was so quiet here in 2023.
The main reason was finishing my second Healthusiasm book, The Transformational Economy. After almost 3 years of research, it was now time to finally finish this book. So yes, you can expect a new book and international book tour starting May 2024.
Second, the arrival and popularity of LLMs, such as ChatGPT, demanded that the format be rethought. Which content is still strong enough among all the automatically generated texts in both blogs and social media. The answer to this - for me - is to focus more on recent healthusiastic stories, personal reflections and related insights or models from my books. That way, I aim it to be unique and most valuable to you.
Finally, the previous newsletter format was perhaps too heavy to maintain the same quality: every two weeks, I wrote a long read about a specific health trend: financial wellness, medical gyms, digital humans, personal science and so on... While it created a lot of interest, the effort (3 days / 2 weeks) was relatively high. These health trends will still be written, but less frequently. They will also only be available on my own website. Partly due to Artificial Intelligence, the internet has become too large and too spread out. You will now mainly find the most essential content under www.christophejauquet.com. I also plan to post less on social media. The goal should not be to reach as many people as possible but to generate a community interested in Healthusiasm. This may partly go against the logic of online marketing, but that's how it feels to me. Then, I am also sure I will maintain the proper focus and intention. It will also allow me to work on additional content you won't find anywhere else.
In that regard, this newsletter will continue down the same path as the Healthusiasm Podcast, a monthly panel discussion on the latest trends in health & self-care that is getting global attention right now. Discover it here.
Without further ado, here's your weekly dose of Healthusiasm.
This week, I'm writing about how detectives are putting pressure on age-old scientific institutions and why we stick cameras to babies' foreheads.
And here's this week's soundtrack for you while reading.
"would you live forever and never die? would you smile forever and never cry? "
🕵️♀️ 🔬 SciSleuths
Sholto David is a 32-year-old amateur scientist-sleuth who hunts and flags errors or fabrications in published scientific papers. In a Jan. 2 blog post, Sholto David presented suspicious images from more than 30 published papers by four scientists from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, including even their CEO, Laurie Glimcher, and COO, William Hahn. As a result, most studies were immediately reviewed, corrected or withdrawn with public statements.
This may sound ground-breaking, but there are, in fact, plenty of such "scientific sleuths" who share their findings on platforms like PubPeer, a site that allows anonymous comments on scientific papers. One such person is Elisabeth Bik, 57, who has been 'sleuthing' for a decade. Based on her work, scientific journals have retracted 1,133 articles, corrected 1,017 others and printed 153 expressions of concern. This has turned into a real business for her as donations from Patreon subscribers bring in about $2,300 per month, alongside her occasional honoraria from speaking engagements.
The Healthusiasm Take:
I don't know what sounds more bizarre to me: the fact that many detectives voluntarily review medical publications or that apparently so many publications are actually falsified (or, shall we say, contain "errors"). Of course, this might be more familiar territory for some. But not directly for me.
What I find interesting about it is how, in science, we also see a kind of crumbling of central institutions due to new technologies: Falsified or plagiarised photos can be discovered, complex calculations can be re-performed, and so on... In addition, it is possible to be paid for this via Patreon or DAOs that run on blockchain. And it is not difficult to imagine how Artificial Intelligence will contribute even further to this decentralisation trend. Institutions that have been undeniably lord and master or have a monopoly over science since 1700 now have to live with the knowledge that this will no longer remain the case.
Building on that same trend, I expect we will also see more and more scientific studies taking place outside those scientific institutions. Particularly in domains considered 'less respectable' or for which the scientific community has difficulty finding funding, I expect more and more decentralised studies. Just think of the LOVE DAO, which has scientific studies set up and funded to study the impact of 'breathwork', for example. It offers opportunities to draw attention to topics that interest many 'ordinary' people but may not be as highly regarded in the scientific community. And if this isn't Healthusiasm, I don't know what is.
Life Aspiration: Solidarity (feel stronger united)
Decentralisation starts from the idea that we can achieve more when working together instead of relying on a single central power. This universal human Life Aspiration has been ubiquitous in recent years and will continue growing. Because it prevents things from going bad.
👶 🎥 FirstSteps AI
Imagine a baby named Sam wearing a tiny camera, capturing all the baby stuff he does—crawling, watching his parents, and hanging out with grandma.
This wasn't just for cute vids; researchers from the University of Melbourne and Stanford University used it to teach an AI to learn language like a baby does. And indeed, the study captured everyday moments from three kids wearing GoPro-like cameras. This setup provided a rich, real-world glimpse into their lives, recording their activities and conversations twice a week. This unique perspective offered a treasure trove of data on how toddlers interact with their environment, contributing significantly to understanding language learning from a child's eye view. They called the AI CVCL, and it's trying to learn in a more human way, from real-life experiences, unlike those big AI models that eat up tons of text to learn. It's a cool peek into how kids pick up language so quickly and how AI might do the same with just a bit of real-world learning.
The Healthusiasm take
Combining AI and life experiences is a powerful new method for studying machine and human thinking. It could help us develop new AI models that learn like children and potentially reshape our understanding of how our brains learn language and concepts. The opportunities are enormous here if you think about learning from patients or customers to improve their experiences. But the same is true for students, drivers, first-time visitors, or any experience-driven reality that requires the analysis of journeys.
It also shows how Artificial Intelligence is becoming an intrinsic part of society, like electricity today. It will be the basic foundation of everything in life. If we are already taping cameras onto babies to gather data, then there will be very few instances in which we won't collect data. This also made me think of two other life-encompassing, mind-boggling examples with AI: The Rewind Pendant, a wearable that captures everything that you say and hear in the real world and then transcribes, encrypts, and stores it so that you can learn (from yourself) at all time. Or how about that AI, trained on a huge, public database of health, social, and economic information collected by the Danish government, that could make highly accurate predictions about people’s lives, including how likely they are to die in a given time window.
While these examples can provide a ton of rich data to improve our lives, it's hard not to feel frightened by it. How unreal or even inhuman is this? Is this what we sign up for? In the remaining years of this decade, we will have plenty of discussions about the true intention of Artificial Intelligence: Where does it add, and where does it take away? If you thought the current backlash from social media is a huge concern... I think we are in for more considerable discussions that touch upon the core values or even the core of being humans. And that is a responsibility we will all have to accept. Because the application of Artificial Intelligence will be everywhere. And just like with social media, we must rely on our Healthusiasm to make the rightful decision.
Life Aspiration: Consciousness
It's a human desire in life to be aware and comprehend things. That will never cease to exist. Artificial Intelligence will only add to this. But how AI will fill in that Life Aspiration will be challenged against our norms and values. What do we really need to know? What do we do with it?
Thanks for reading this new format this week.
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Transformational Speaker on health, business & technology.
🧸 SESAME STREET: Elmo from Sesame Street asked on X "Elmo is just checking in. How is everybody doing?" . It immediately created a floodgate of emotions showing the collective struggles many face daily. Millions of people opened up and poured their hearts in response. Sesame Street responded quickly by referring to their 'Sesame Workshop, ' the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, emphasising the importance of emotional well-being and the power of asking for help.
🖼️ SYNTHETIC MEMORIES: What if AI could help us create memories from the past of Dementia and Alzheimer patients. That was the question Pau Garcia, founder of Domestic Data Streamers, a design studio in Barcelona, tried to answer using AI image generators based on patient input. (link)