Artificial Intelligence Conversational Intervention for Encouraging Physical Activity in Older Adults

Artificial Intelligence Conversational Intervention for Encouraging Physical Activity in Older Adults Sadiq Sani, Kay Cooper, Nirmalie Wiratunga, Stewart Massie (Robert Gordon University); Ehud Reiter (University of Aberdeen); David Sim (Openbrolly)

Our vision is to develop a natural, ubiquitous and proactive system that can use conversation to deliver behaviour change interventions for improving physical activity to older adults. For this, we address the following research questions:

  1. Can physical activity data from wearable sensors be used to contextualise conversational interaction?
  2. Can we recognise barriers to physical activity in follow-on user responses and generate recommendations for overcoming them?
  3. Can conversational intervention create positive behaviour change?
  4. Can we create the type of experience that ensures full engagement and long-term adherence?

Conversation appeals to all age groups, but might prove particularly appropriate for older adults who can have difficulties with new technologies and may be more likely to appreciate the natural interaction offered through conversational dialogue. Hence, delivering behaviour change interventions using digital conversation provides an opportunity for achieving higher levels of adoption and adherence, compared to traditional approaches.

Presently, digital behaviour change interventions are delivered as text notifications on mobile phones. Despite the popularity of this approach, there is little evidence to indicate that text notifications are effective at promoting positive behaviour change particularly in the long-term. The main problem is that text notifications offer one-way communication (from the device to the user) and hence, provide no opportunity for interaction. In addition, text notifications are easily ignored; fewer than 30% of received notifications are typically viewed by users with average delays of close to 3 hours, highlighting the need for an alternative approach.