10x Innovation, Predictive Technology, and the Extinction of Apps
A Q&A with Hinge Health’s VP of Deep Technology
The futurist Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sophisticated, sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” With that in mind, you can call Hinge Health VP of Deep Technology, Paul Kruszewski, PhD, our resident magician.
As Hinge Health’s futurist, Dr. Kruszewski is laser focused on the “next big thing” and leveraging technological advancements to provide dynamic, customized, member-centric care.
Hinge Health President Jim Pursley sat down with him at the Movement 2023 conference in Chicago to discuss where healthcare technology is going, and what he thinks will be left in the dust in the coming years, as well as how some of the perceived negatives of technology can be navigated—and even reimagined.
Jim Pursley (JP): As you think about technology innovation, there’s oftentimes an inherent tension between the costs and benefits. How do you reconcile that when it comes to privacy and the power of prediction?
Paul Kruszewski (PK): That is all very top of mind for me because there have been many tech companies that have built their entire business model off of exploiting our privacy.
But I think with companies like Spotify or Netflix, where we’ve made a tradeoff: We let the company understand our desires, and we get content customized to us. I see that happening a lot in our world.
I think where this is going to get a lot more complicated is when it’s health you’re talking about. It's not my taste in World War II documentaries. It's my health.
I feel good about how we're doing things at Hinge Health. We have that baked in right from the get-go. I think we’re on a solid foundation.
Dr. Kruszewski and Pursley continued with an exchange about the importance of communication and trust:
JP: You’re tasked with thinking about innovation—even 10x innovation, which everyone may not be familiar with. What does that mean and how do you think about it?
PK: Hinge Health is a very innovative company. Dan [Perez, Hinge Health’s CEO] often talks about how we can get 5% better at something every day. And you see that with the product roadmap.
But how do we get to the next big thing—a phase change? That’s 10x innovation.
Going from sensors to computer vision, that was a big level up. What are the next things to do? That’s what I’m looking at.
I’m a big believer in a Steve Job’s quote, which is actually a Picasso quote: “Good artists borrow and great artists steal.”
I think there’s so much innovation in the construction industry, video games, entertainment—we should take all that knowledge, understand it, and figure out how we can build it for health.
JP: Give us a sneak peek into the future: What’s a 10x innovation prediction for the healthcare industry?
PK: As we formalize the notion of a digital twin, that’s going to allow us to organize our data. Right now, we have a lot of data. The more we get centered around the member and the more we collect all the data together, we can explore how we plug it in.
I think that is going to be big because it’s going to allow us to do a lot of prediction.
I’ll put it out there: Six years from now, I don’t think apps will exist. Hinge Health the service will still exist, but my personal opinion is that the app will not.
Referencing Grace, Hinge Health’s under-development AI technology, here’s what he had to say about what will take their place:
JP: ChatGPT has been all over the news. What do you think we should make of it?
PK: It is sort of like the mother of all spell checkers, really. And I really want to make this clear because it's not being explained properly.
When you're typing and making a typo, a spell checker looks up all the probabilities of what that work could be based on the previous sentence.
If you take that and 'giga' it, large language models like ChatGPT basically read the entire Internet and build a predictive system. These systems are only predicting based on what they’ve read.
We could get into a philosophical debate about what creation is, but they're not creating things. They're sort of a massive lookup table that, based on your prompt, regurgitates and condenses what’s on the Internet.
It is not sentient in the way that we are, for sure.
JP: Is massive regurgitation helpful to us?
PK: Absolutely. Think about the democratization of knowledge. I think this is as big as the Internet or the next level of the Internet.
These large language models, with a bit of guardrails attached, give you access to an expert teacher if you want an expert opinion.
JP: We've never had more technology. And yet many of us have never felt more alone. How can technology help foster connection and increase, not decrease, our humanity?
PK: That's a big order. I think one thing that the pandemic taught me and others is just how important other humans are—especially for us techies.
I think it's going to bring people together in ways they can't. Take gaming, for example. It may have started out isolationist. But I would say there's a lot of people who find a lot of community playing games like Fortnite online with their peers.
Let's go back to exercise therapy and wellness: Right now the interaction with Hinge Health is a 1-to-1 kind of experience. Maybe someday it will be a many-to-many kind of experience where you’re doing exercise classes with your friends.
I think technology offers a lot of possibilities to glue us together.
Pursley closed out the discussion with a bit about how Hinge Health prioritizes investments in technology:
This discussion was edited for clarity and brevity.