#SXSWISS: Can I Trust My AI Therapist?

This panel for South By Southwest 2017 explores the future and ethics of artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Event Details


Austin Convention Center Room 9AB
500 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, Texas 78701 United States


March 14, 2017 from 8:30 am to 9:30 am America/Chicago (UTC-06:00)

Artificial intelligence could help solve some of the world’s biggest health challenges, from early diagnosis to mental illness to predicting epidemics. Yet, how can we make sure medical AI systems respect our privacy and “do no harm”?

This SXSW panel brings together experts in AI, ethics, and health from Silicon Valley, Switzerland, and the UK to explore urgent questions about the ethical use of AI in healthcare and public health. Join us for a discussion of technology such as Karim, an AI chatbot that has text message conversations with Syrian refugees to help them cope with emotional problems, to the future: where everyone gets a personal AI therapist.

Who should own and have access to our health data? Who should own health-related AI algorithms? How can medical ethics be brought to an AI? These are the questions we look forward to exploring at SXSW.

More information at the SXSW website.


Joanna Bryson

Joanna Bryson is an AI researcher and ethicist from the University of Bath and Princeton University. She is focused on the structure and dynamics of human- and animal-like intelligence, ranging from AI to autonomy to robot ethics and human cooperation. She holds degrees in Psychology from Chicago and Edinburgh, and in Artificial Intelligence from Edinburgh and MIT. She can be seen debating the promises and dangers of AI with Oxford Philosopher Nick Bostrom on the BBC.

Michiel Rauws

Michiel Rauws is the Founder and CEO of X2AI, a startup developing a psychological AI that provides mental health services and emotional well-being for Syrian refugees that was recently featured in The New Yorker and The Guardian. He holds degrees from the Rotterdam School of Management.

Marcel Salathé

Marcel Salathé is a digital epidemiologist from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL). His research focuses on AI as a tool to predict, and stop, epidemics. He earned his PhD at ETH Zurich and spent two years at Stanford before joining the faculty at Penn State. He’s also a painter and has opened for Lenny Kravitz.

Effy Vayena

Effy Vayena is a bioethicist from the University of Zurich and Harvard University. Her work focuses on ethical and policy questions around personalized medicine and digital health. She studied Medical History and Bioethics at the University of Minnesota (USA) and completed her habilitation in Bioethics and Health Policy at the University of Zurich. From 2000- 2007 she worked at the World Health Organization (WHO), focusing on ethical and policy issues relating to reproductive health, and assisted reproduction as well as on health research ethics.


Greater Zurich Area, swissnex San Francisco & Boston, Pro Helvetia, DART 17, Engagement Migros, ETH Zurich, EPFL, University of Zurich, Digital Festival Zurich, Festival Tous Ecrans, Vitra, Valora, Freitag, Emmi.

Photo: Derived from “Matterhorn” by Eider Palmou, CC-BY 2.0 via Flickr

Event Photos