ZDNet 01/17/2019

NeuroMetrix CEO Reflects on the Art of AI

Identifying cat pictures is a no-brainer for AI, but applying machine learning to healthcare is a delicate matter of making choices about what will help a person versus what is merely interesting research.

That fact is expressed in the approach to artificial intelligence taken by a Waltham, Mass-based company called NeuroMetrix, which sells a novel gadget to ease chronic pain.

Quell Wearable Pain Releif

CEO Shai Gozani, an M.D., PhD, is enthusiastic about AI, but not religious; in fact, he has a sense of humor about the recent resurgence in popularity of neural networks.

“I was doing computer science in the mid 80s at Berkeley, and AI was big,” Gozani recalled during an interview last week with ZDNet. “And then I went to medical school, and two or three years ago, AI was suddenly big again, and I said to myself, Hey, this is the same thing that I heard about at that course I went to back then, between those Bruce Springsteen concerts!”

In all seriousness, NeuroMetrix, which sells a device called “Quell,” is finding the value in machine learning applied to large data sets of individuals’ pain. The next move may be to apply deep learning forms of computation, such as reinforcement learning, to further enhance the product’s features. (The Quell Web site has a bunch of other research papers from the company that can be downloaded.)

NeuroMetrix went public on Nasdaq in January of last year. Although its stock has lost roughly a quarter of its value since the IPO, shares have nearly doubled since their December lows.


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