Kinnected’s Consultation response to the European Commission’s White Paper on Excellence trust and Artificial Intelligence Date: June 9th, 2020

COVID-19 has brought the world to its knees. Overloaded healthcare systems, large-scale economic uncertainty, and social isolation are just a few of the byproducts of the current pandemic. People are sick. People are scared. And people are isolated. Through this unprecedented worldwide event, we are seeing, more efficiently than we ever could have imagined, how much our society and systems are at the collective mercy of global health.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was already a crucial need for a cohesive approach to creating policy for the ethical use of technology. This crisis has highlighted the urgency around this work and increased it tenfold. As a collective society, we are not only fighting off a deadly disease but also adjusting to a new way of living, acknowledging many of our routine activities will now be taking place in an evolving and often, remote world.

There is no better time than the present to imagine a new paradigm for taking better care of the health our societies, that works in service to both people and health professionals.

What if we could empower people and health professionals, globally, to take an active, rather than passive, role in navigating their own health and connect them to others sharing a similar health journey?

This empowerment will lead to more informed, cohesive, and responsive social, emotional/mental and physical health decisions. These can in turn contribute to a more secure global health picture.

Kinnected is a crucially needed, free, global, social-health platform that provides a model for ethical use of technology and AI by prioritizing humanity in a digital space. Kinnected offers members a social sanctuary space that provides multiple avenues for them to organize their self-health information, collaborate, and share hard-won knowledge and solutions towards better health and well-being.

Many of our health questions and needs can be met by the hard-won resources and journeys of other people around the world. If you have a short or long term social, emotional, or physical health condition, it is a good chance that someone else around the world has experienced it already or might be currently living with it long-term.

Kinnected’s purpose-driven, humanely developed technology is built to benefit members who seek to harness their own agency and view their health, not as something external, that is safe-kept for them by their doctor, but as a life-long journey towards inner knowledge and self.

Health is complex by nature and in addition to the direct care given by practitioners, we need the benefit of one another’s lived experience to truly address the totality of the issue.

On Kinnected, members create a self-health profile to track their personal health details and answer three questions: What is your story? What can you offer? What do you need? Members fill out a daily note and can align their health questions and conditions, historically on a timeline.

If desired, through the use of AI, members are matched to their “global body buddies,” other members of Kinnected across the world who share their physical, social, and emotional health traits, and are able to offer mentorship or support.

If a member chooses not to connect with a body buddy, they can instead look through the solutions library, which is a collection of any conversation on the platform that helped solve a health question or added to a solution. Both members of the conversation must agree before a solution becomes public on the site, otherwise the conversation stays personal only on their timeline.

We are rarely only responsible for our own health. The Kinnected Care Profile tool acknowledges that many adult’s lives are spent collaborating on the health of those we care about. The care profile is a proxy timeline developed to help members co-manage the health conditions of a loved one with trusted friends, co-parents, family or caregivers. This tool can help build and strengthen bonds across families, whether biological or found, and acknowledge support systems between people, and the need to level the playing field around health decisions, improvements and developments.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, we as a society placed an enormous burden at the feet of physicians, tasking them with the job to “fix” us. With Kinnected, the goal is for members to build self-reliance and self-knowledge, shifting the perspective on their health to one of active collaboration rather than passive reception. On Kinnected, the first step of managing health is self-exploration, and knowledge-building. That can progress to querying one’s global community for shared solutions and resources, and if needed, ultimately move on to the expertise of practitioners around the world from our global health directory.

Through this process, we can use technology responsibly to help us help each other, thereby replacing the feeling of loneliness that often arises around our health, with empathy, collaboration and community. This will ultimately lead to more empowered, compassionate, global citizens and a less fractured healthcare system. 

Health professionals are also able to access their own specific tools on Kinnected. In addition to a robust multi-disciplinary global practitioner directory, the site offers practitioners of all kinds, the ability to connect with likeminded colleagues, across countries and facilities, to information share, empathize, inspire and network.

By connecting practitioners from diverse disciplines and approaches, we are working to create more opportunities for dynamic and innovative treatment plans as well as work towards easing the growing feelings of depression, anxiety and burnout that doctors are experiencing on a daily basis due to overburdened healthcare systems.

The Kinnected global health network is the world’s first universal health directory, offering a formal in-depth profile to vetted health professionals, whether they are independent, or belong to clinics or hospitals, are working in academia, on sabbatical, or just recently graduated. In this way, all practitioners can be found by anyone, globally, and also engage in personalized one-on-one discussion topics that restore dignity and enliven the spirit. The subscription model for the directory is Kinnected’s revenue model and is geared towards global affordability by operating on a sliding scale, depending on the practitioner’s salary.

By providing all members, whether they are people or health professionals, access to the same health resources, stories, and conversations, there is greater likelihood that the pertinent information is seen by the right person at the right time, regardless of their background or their conditions.

Kinnected is using AI technology as a mechanism through which we can increase our humanity and connection to each other. We see opportunity for using these tools as social-change agents for public good and promoting a broader societal discourse, as they were originally intended.

Currently, social media channels and commercialized health and fitness apps are not designed to build up our self-worth, to mentor us, or to encourage a sense of service or culture to others. We seek important health answers and guidance on channels built by big tech, who take little to no action towards stemming non-stop divisiveness, feeding mistrust, encouraging competition, misinformation, and uneasy rhetoric. On Kinnected, there are no forums, no groups, and no advertisements. There are no opportunities for triangulation or engaging a divisive audience. Ethical technology is used in service of the person, not the other way around.

Data generated via user input is used primarily to create a more tailored user experience, such as relevant health topics and articles, practitioner suggestions, and connections to other users with similar health interests, conditions and questions via the body buddy system. The data input by any member of Kinnected, serves the member, not the company. Kinnected does not sell data, but there are opportunities to use peer to peer data, with all transparency, in concert with global public health efforts.

Kinnected supports a world-wide redefinition of global public health and the health of humanity. The platform honors the many avenues that bring us good health and builds this association by integrating art, essays, and in-depth profiles along with practical the site’s practical tools.

This sense of integration is also reflected in our partnerships. Kinnected works to build bridges and coefficient root systems between our global partners. By joining with other global organizations that share similar good health and common-sense values, we strive to structure technology, economy, health and policy, around essential human rights.

Kinnected develops community partnerships in the areas of:

Arts and culture: Art is a profound form of communication. Imagery and music are compelling tools for healing.

Education and family: Focusing on building compassion in education, and through family participation and collaboration.

Public and social Health: Supporting infrastructure around homelessness, abating loneliness, and innovating how the knowledge and skills of our aging populations can play a more cogent role in society.

When using AI, it is important for companies to ask themselves on an in-depth level, “Why are we collecting this data?” The “Why” of collecting data and use of AI is of the utmost importance and is tied specifically to human agency and oversight, one of the European Commission’s stated requirements from the 2019 Guidelines for trustworthy AI.

In addition to human agency and oversight of the technology itself, the structure of a company affects the ability for ongoing ethical use of AI and technology. Kinnected is dedicated to using technology specifically for social advocacy and does not accept venture capital or sell user data to third parties. Because of these choices, Kinnected is able to evolve flexibly and quickly to innovate, remedy or mitigate its structure and focus on creating value for members. The ethical roadmap of the company rests solely with the CEO and is thus not prone to potentially negative outside influence, redeploying existing resources or resetting stakeholders’ expectations.

Not all companies can be structured in this manner, but it highlights the importance of knowing exactly who the stakeholders are within a company, who is making decisions regarding the use of AI and technology, and how their priorities may or may not conflict with ethical technology use.

With this freedom, Kinnected can work towards creating long-term, system-changing impact that focuses on the totality of the person. Kinnected utilizes AI responsibly and collaboratively, letting members teach AI what they individually need, and allowing the system to tailor its approach, but also taking user feedback to analyze, and ultimately predict, public health trends.

As an American based company with global family values, we would be more than happy to share our experiences further, and continue discussion to create common shared knowledge, or repertoire. Additionally, we’d be happy to contribute to webinars on the topic or other forms of virtual or in-person meetings.

Kinnected is specifically interested in reaching across the ocean and learning from and collaborating with different levels and cultures of technological environments. As a new, scale-able, social service-oriented platform, committed to transparency, we are excited by the opportunity to respond to the EU’s efforts and feel equally precautionary. Kinnected seeks to find a common ground, culturally, and a home for our business values.

Better health is a step we can all take together, whether we’re living in the same city, or across the ocean from each other. We remain open to collaboration to commonly developing self-health tools that work for all. Humane-centered, purpose-built technology gives us health tools that work for our ever-evolving lives, hearts and families, not the other way around.