Article

Meet SU

21 May 2017

Posted by Pete Trainor

In 2017, Nexus CX created and piloted an experimental new Ai powered technology called SU.

SU is our attempt at trying to lower a statistic in the UK that is growing at really concerning rates, driven by factors we don't fully understand. Human behaviour is a beautifully complex thing. All of our quirks and thoughts vary with age, gender, religion, ethnic group, location and almost always change over time. But when the world changes around us, sometimes the risk factors to our mental wellbeing also change and frequently in combinations and at unexplained or unexpected times.

Because of these factors, year upon year a staggering number of men die by suicide across the UK. Every two hours a man takes his own life - in fact, over 75% of all suicides are by men.

Three out of four suicides are by men and in the time it takes you to make a cup of tea, switch on the TV and watch a Hollywood Blockbuster, another one of us, in the UK, will have killed ourselves. Terry Rigby, Forward for Life

Suicide affects all parts of society, but suicide rates amongst men remains markedly high in comparison to women. More traditional approaches have focussed on reducing access to means and targeting people with mental health needs.

However, although not always with an aim of preventing suicide, there are many innovative upstream solutions that through placing emphasis on well-being, social inclusion and resilience, support people to find reasons for living, which is why we invented SU, not to replace medical care, but to help men find purpose and answers to some of the big questions.

A life support system to help men question, explore and find answers to the things that keep them awake at night.

WHAT IS SU?

Our goal is that eventually, SU will run in every major social platform, from traditional social media, to private chat applications across all operating systems. You chat, it replies. The barrier to entry is as complicated as asking questions and receiving next best actions or answers. We've set SU up to always be learning and whenever it gets a question wrong, or doesn't have an accurate answer, it will go away and learn in a supervised fashion. The more people engage, the smarter it gets. 

In the first 5 months of the pilot, SU went from being able to accurately answer about 1,200 queries, to well over 10,000 - Just by getting things wrong & learning the meanings. Pete Trainor, Nexus CX

But, fundamentally at the core of the system, is the capability to analyse the intent and tone of a query, even if the words allude SU. So even when it fails on it's first attempt, it's still reporting back to the people behind the system, and the carers of people offline, about focus areas to invest more human time in.

Life is a puzzle, it needs to be solved. SU has been trained to ask a lot of questions to help solve the reasons people feel the way they feel. We've also trained SU to offer random points of inspiration. When people are bored, or stuck, or simply feel like they need a distraction - you just have to ask.

SU is able to send out periodic notifications, with more questions, that help people to learn more about themselves and to help it get smarter.

Finally, we've been training SU with the information from a directory of the countries best people-powered support services. Whilst we recognised that sometimes the anonymity of speaking to a machine can be a huge benefit, especially for men, we also appreciate that something as smart as SU, is no substitute for highly trained and skilled professionals.

"We are your sons, your husbands, your brothers, your fathers, your work colleagues, your friends and your soul mates and we are finding it increasingly difficult to survive in an ever changing world. Terry Rigby, Forward for Life

What's next?

SU is still in the pilot stages, but from the data already being collected, we recognise that the experiment has the potential to be ground-breaking and start to turn the key and unlock the secrets of a silent killer.

If you would like to know more about the project and sign-up for the pilot, you can do so at www.hisu.chat and after careful screening, you will be contacted about taking part.

In the meantime, please remember that everybody around you is on a journey that you know nothing about. They're living out life moments that are at times uplifting and other times soul destroying. You don't need technology to help, just give everyone a little cuddle and remind them that they are loved, admired, respected and important.

Pete Trainor
Posted by Pete Trainor

Pete Trainor is Chair of the BIMA AI think tank, a #1 bestselling author, digital designer, accidental polymath, mental health campaigner and founder of Nexus CX in London. He talks all over the world on data driven technologies and the effects on their audiences. His recently published book “Hippo - Human Focused Digital” takes a philosophical look at technology and design, challenging us all to look inwardly at the self when designing experiences for other people. He has a very simple mantra: Don't do things better, do better things.

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