How AI Will Revolutionize Intermittent Fasting in 2023 - Interview With Fastic CEO Florian Braunschweig
February 16, 2023
Fastic CEO Florian Braunschweig opens up about the company's AI enhanced user experience and the future of intermittent fasting.
Interview by Dr. Denis Jung for Fastic GmbH
Fastic is an all-inclusive health and wellness tech company that supports users towards a healthier and happier lifestyle through the Fastic app. Focusing on intermittent fasting, we provide guidance with AI behavioral change recommendations, educational content created by our board of experts, and accountability features like the fasting timer and buddy system. Our freemium service allows users to personalize their health journey.
Jung: Florian, thank you for taking the time today to talk to us about the application of artificial intelligence (AI) within the Fastic app. AI and particularly ChatGTP have been all over the media lately. But not many people would immediately associate the technology with their application in intermittent fasting apps. Can you tell us more about what the Fastic app does, what you are trying to achieve and why you decided to equip the Fastic app with AI features?
Braunschweig: Thanks for the question! At Fastic, we believe that health is highly individual and a one-size-fits-all solution can never be appropriate to fit the individual needs of human beings. That's why we understand Fastic as more than just an app - it's a partner that assists and guides people on eye-level to establish and develop a lifestyle of holistic health and joy.
At the core of Fastic is the healthy routine of intermittent fasting from which it also carries its name. Starting from this healthy routine, we provide a personalized journey that is tailored to their individual needs. It covers five pillars: balanced nutrition, movement, quality sleep, mindfulness and human connection, which we consider as essential for a holistically healthy lifestyle.
Also from my personal experience I learned that adopting new habits can be really tricky and challenging - especially in the long-run. I often fell back to my typical behavior and had to start all over again. I believe that this happens to many people out there. With Fastic, we want to make this challenging journey, as easy and handy as possible with a simple and easy to use product, which provides the right guidance at the right time, shows empathy for set-backs and provides a motivating environment, in which standing up again, feels natural.
Our vision is to make Fastic the world’s go-to partner for everyday well-being by cultivating awareness and holistic change for healthier lives across the globe. We want to do this with a product that fits into people’s lifestyle and helps to find joy in life.
To make this vision reality we rely on talent and technology. We bring together the knowledge and experience of our talented team and our health, nutrition and psychological experts with the latest technologies. Therefore, we are very excited about the potential of AI technologies, demonstrated by OpenAI and ChatGTP, which allow us to provide our customers with a highly individualized experience as well as a feeling of personality and trust. By using these technologies, we are able to improve the value proposition of Fastic much faster and more effectively than ever before to provide our customers what we believe can truly help them achieve their health goals.
I am really excited and proud to be part of this journey together with all the amazing people at Fastic. Since we started working on this new initiative, I can feel the new energy in the team. That really motivates me and makes it a lot of fun.
Jung: I’d like to hear more about your vision for the future of the Fastic app and how AI will change the intermittent fasting game for users?
Braunschweig: Our vision for the future of the Fastic app is to create an integrated and seamless experience in the daily lives of our users to make it easier than ever for them to stick to their intermittent fasting and other healthy habits - in an intuitive and effortless way.
This goes far beyond the experience of just an app. I believe, in ten years, people in the world will interact with technology not only via their smartphones, smartwatches and smart TVs etc, but in a much more integrated way than today. People will experience a seamless journey and interaction with technology throughout the day beyond just screen views.
AI will be a critical component of this experience and will support an empathetic and personalized journey for our users, which considers learnings of the past, plans for the future and contextual information of the current moment.
By leveraging AI, we can provide personalized and timely reminders and guidance that is tailored to each individual's needs and lifestyle. We can anticipate when people might need help and provide an empathetic environment to help them overcome any challenges they face. We can also use AI to make it easier for users to understand their own behavior better and make adjustments in order to establish healthy habits for the long-term.
We want to enable and motivate people to go their own way, in their own pace, really feeling seen as an individual with individual needs, desires and goals. In the end, our goal is to empower our users to make healthier choices and live a healthier life.
Jung: I can see that you have a grand vision for the future of Fastic and some of it still sounds like science fiction. Can you tell us more about how you are planning to get there, what the major milestones are and the challenges you expect along the way?
Braunschweig: We’ve already had some exciting successes and it's really motivating to see how far we've come already. We released our first integration of AI models and AI language transformers as part of a dialogical guidance experience, where we provide contextual guidance to our users and address their individual challenges in adopting their new intermittent fasting routine.
One very positive side-effect of our dialogical guidance integration powered by AI is that we could speed up our qualitative and quantitative understanding of our customers and their challenges dramatically. Especially when it comes to establishing their new healthy lifestyle. We are already making use of the learnings we made through this approach to further improve the app experience perfectly tailored to the needs of our customers.
We’re now moving forward to create fully dynamic dialogical guidance flows to provide an even more individualized experience.
Making use of artificial intelligence leads to an approach that is not linear, so it brings in a lot of complexity, but we are dedicated to keeping a high quality of content and user experience, so we are constantly reviewing and improving the customer journey.
AI is still a new and evolving field, so we are learning more every day and adapting our tactics and integrations accordingly. We have already rolled out our first AI solutions to a subset of users and based on their feedback and our perspective, we are continuing to improve the experience step by step before rolling it out to all users.
We are looking forward to some major milestones in the near future, such as accompanying the dialogical guidance with interactive, AI-powered tools to help our customers overcome their individual challenges in daily life. Of course, there will be challenges along the way, but we’re confident in our vision and our ability to create an amazing experience for our users. We are incredibly excited about the potential of this technology, and we can't wait to continue our journey of revolutionizing the way people approach intermittent fasting and a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Jung: As I understand Fastic is already testing new AI features with a small user group. How do users respond to them? And when do you plan a full release to all users?
Braunschweig: We’re very excited about the progress we are making with our new AI features. With our first released product increments, we’ve received many interesting interactions from our small user group and they’ve been very positive. We follow a lean approach and adapt the product based on our learnings and our data insights. We also talk to our customers in interviews to get a better understanding of how they are feeling in this new environment and how we can help them better.
We also learned that users have very individual needs with regards to guidance in order to feel motivated. If I think of myself, I prefer a very clear and direct guidance with the focus on my goal. Other people might be more appealed by a more soft and listening communication. It really depends on the individual and where this person currently stands at their own health journey.
At this point, we don't have an exact date for a full release to all users but we are confident that when we do, our users will be thrilled. We will continue to iterate and refine our product until we are confident that it meets our high standards and our users' expectations. We are looking forward to making this product available to the world and can't wait to see the impact it will have.
Jung: New technologies always comprise opportunities and challenges. From your early user testing, have there been any unexpected challenges? What key performance indicators show you that AI is actually beneficial to users and Fastic as a company?
Braunschweig: During our early user testing, we didn't face any major unexpected challenges. It's true that the complexity of AI technology brings lots of new opportunities and challenges, and so we keep a very close eye on the user journey. From the feedback we're getting, it's clear that AI is actively making life easier for our users, and also providing a great benefit for Fastic as a company. We use key performance indicators to measure their reactions and feedback, and this data helps us a lot to improve the product experience of Fastic in those areas, which are most relevant to our users. We believe that AI will continue to bring great value to our users, and our company.
Jung: There is no doubt that AI algorithms such as ChatGPT can create great value for users. Nonetheless one argument against the use of AI is the confidence with which the algorithms also produce false information. Especially within the health environment, where wrong information can lead to severe health conditions, that sounds critical. How do you answer that?
Braunschweig: I understand the concern of using AI algorithms in the health environment, as wrong information can have serious consequences. At our company, we take this very seriously and have put in place a number of measures to ensure that the information we provide is of a high standard. Firstly, we have an expert health advisory board to help us improve the information the AI produces.
Secondly, we emphasize that for critical health information, it is important to consult a doctor, like for example, during the onboarding when we ask for important medical information. Finally, we use AI technologies to understand what is important for our customers and guide them on their way, but when it comes to providing specific solutions, we blend in our individually developed solutions.
This way, we are able to provide our users with access to the best information available, while providing the utmost care when it comes to health on a highly personalized and empathetic journey.
Jung: Thinking of the future of your AI developments, which strategy do you follow in terms of using out of box solutions compared to development of proprietary AI algorithms?
Braunschweig: In terms of the future of our AI developments, our strategy is to first use out of the box solutions like OpenAI to get a better understanding of the customer experience, what works well and what areas we could improve on. This gives us a great starting point to then develop our own proprietary AI algorithms, tailored to our customers’ needs and requirements.
We are excited to see how our AI developments progress, as we strive to stay ahead of the curve and provide our customers with the best in AI-driven products. Because of that we will shortly start training our own AI models to ensure that our core product continues to be completely in our hands and thus to provide the best possible experience for our customers.
Jung: From your Experience with Fastics AI development, what came as a huge surprise to you in the way you think about AI and how users can benefit from it when intermittent fasting?
Braunschweig: The biggest surprise for me in my experience was the incredible speed at which AI solutions itself developed lately. In the past, customer facing and interactive AI solutions felt quite limited. The most I had consciously experienced in the past with AI was when one of the listening audio devices (not mentioning any brand name here ;)) was interfering with my hangout calls, interrupting with: “I didn't understand what you said.” But now we are seeing exponential growth in AI, and I'm so excited to see where it goes.
I think one situation I still can remember is, when I was chatting with a friend through WhatsApp and we were discussing a business topic. Then he sent me his opinion and I thought, yes, that really makes sense. Later it turned out that this actually was the response of open AI, generated in the playground of open AI. I had never experienced that AI could generate meaningful, context driven and empathetic recommendations that matter. This interaction really changed my opinion.
The biggest benefit our users can draw from this is the high degree of personalization and the feeling of an empathetic environment. This level of individualization is now much easier to achieve and fits perfectly with Fastic's long-term strategy. Overall, I think AI can provide users with a much more rewarding experience, as it can customize its solutions to the individual needs of each user. It can also make the experience more interactive and engaging for users, giving them more control over their experience and allowing them to make better decisions about their health and wellness.
Jung: Summing up the current developments at Fastic and the AI world, what is your conclusion about it?
Braunschweig: Basically, I believe we are on the brink of a revolution in terms of customer facing and interactive AI technologies. We have the incredible opportunity to help our customers find their individual way to their healthy lifestyle goals with these innovative technologies and it is truly inspiring to be part of this journey.
We are so proud to be part of shaping the future of holistic health with state of the art technology and excited to see how our users interact with it. We are eager to continue to learn more about open AI and use our knowledge to build a better product for our customers every day.
This is an incredibly exciting time for Fastic and the AI world, and I'm confident that our advancements will make a positive impact on people's lives.
Jung: Thank you for your time and providing us with these interesting insights.
Braunschweig: Thank you very much as well!
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