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This is the ustwo newsletter, which is about interesting things happening in Digital, Design and Transformation. You can subscribe here or unsubscribe at any time. You can find out more about ustwo here

🚑 Chatbots do therapy and AIs do diagnosis

Sometimes people find it easier to speak about some issues when they know they’re *not* speaking to a human. Relate found that people open up more readily when they understand they are talking to an AI counsellor.

A South Yorkshire NHS Trust has been testing AI to identify mental health patients at risk of suicide. And a Chinese AI can diagnose 55 children’s illnesses pretty well. Automated systems like this are not ready to replace medical staff, but are probably at the “helping doctors in their work” stage. Or in some cases the “have all of the ethical dimensions been considered?” stage.

Designing digital experiences for mental health, by ustwo: “Digital media may well be one of the sources of our mental health crisis. And yet, consumers are also turning to digital media for advice and relief as health and mindfulness apps flood the app store in unprecedented numbers. However, not all of these applications are successful, and so the question remains, how do we create digital media that strengthens rather than undercuts mental health and resilience?”

Δ Change that lasts

How govtech leaders can create change that sticks and lasts - plenty of good stuff there for anyone working in transformation. “It’s much harder for an incoming political administration to switch off a notification platform that powers over 600 government services, than it is to ignore a strategy document. There are a few things that can only really be implemented with strong political support. The best example is spending controls.”

🚗 Effects of on-demand models on public transport

Uber and Lyft depress bus use by 1.7% and rail use by 1.29%. Those figures are annual: bus ridership in San Francisco is down 13% in eight years. This seems to happen where the transit job both do is similar (short journeys in cities). Perhaps the fact that the thing being purchased is the journey rather than the vehicle makes it easier to compare and then substitute public transport with taxis.

∞ Improving design and digital diversity

The UK’s creative industries aren’t very diverse yet: 78% of people working in design are male, and 60% of people working in digital are male. ustwo are very pleased to be a founding partner of Flipside London, a work experience programme for under-represented groups aged 18-25 - it’s a small step, but our industry needs to do more.

♿ “In there I feel normal”

A beautiful piece on the ability of the internet to make new places and connect people in ways that they couldn’t offline. What looks merely like a roleplay game gave a disabled man a different life and a close cohort of friends. "It's not a screen, it's a gateway to wherever your heart desires." Warning: you might cry.

🥑 TV you can touch

Playdeo’s Avo game is “television you can touch: a new space, inside video, where you can play.” Your character - a curious detective avocado who can trot, quest, collect in a space that’s described solely with “real world” video (it’s easier to play than describe). It’s completely charming and a hint of what might be possible for Augmented Reality once it gets more engaging.

⛓ Kickstarter, a safe start

The Trades Union Congress tried a Kickstarter-like feature to solicit new union members in the visual effects industry. “28% of joiners chose the ‘join now’ option, with 72% choosing to ‘join if we hit the target’”, which suggests that Kickstarter’s conditional commitment does genuinely feel like a safer way to join a new thing.

ustwo news

We’ve spruced up our website for 2019 - take a look.

Cart pulls the horse: innovation in open banking.

Thanks for reading. You can subscribe here or unsubscribe at any time. You can find out more about ustwo here

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