Marie Awarded "Exceptional Woman of Excellence" by Women Economic Forum

At the gathering of the Women Economic Forum (WEF) in Perth on 5-7 July, Marie was awarded the “Exceptional Woman of Excellence” presented by Dr Harbeen Arora, the Global Chairperson of the WEF. The “Exceptional Woman of Excellence” award is for women/ leaders who are pioneers and leaders in their respective entrepreneurial and professional endeavours, with a distinctive voice and vision that are inspiring and innovating a new narrative of leadership in all walks of life. It is for those whose expertise and spirit can inspire and inform the next wave of a more awakened and empowered leadership.

This is the first time that the WEF has been held in Australia, a remarkable achievement by an amazing Australian humanitarian Carol Hanlon and her Australian and global team.

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Kiwi’s and Aussies have joined forces to take on a global problem.

Tech startup has secured funding from well-known New Zealand entrepreneur, product strategist and angel investor Garth Sutherland to build a better model for cardiac support using AI company FaceMe's digital human platform. These digital human cardiac coaches will revolutionise the way in which cardiac patients and their family’s access and understand cardiac health information. 

The Digital Human Cardiac Coaches (DHCC) will support patient education through natural conversations, reducing the impact of health illiteracy.

“This is the next great advance” says co-founder, Marie Johnson: “We are moving fast, engaging globally to deliver the DHCC to meet the demand for telehealth and augmented health services.”

The company says its minimum viable product (MVP) will be ready by early 2020 – although a demonstration video (which was co-designed with heart patients) can already be watched on partner AI company FaceMe's website.

“We know that the forecast demand is massive,” says Sutherland.  “A recent study identified AI virtual nursing assistants as the second largest AI health care application, representing a $20 billion pa year market by 2026. We encourage providers and organisations who are interested in the Digital Human Cardiac Coach as part of their patient education and telehealth services, to register as soon as possible for the 2020 program."

The death toll from cardiovascular disease is rising 

Each year worldwide, 17.9 million people die due to cardiovascular disease (CVD), now classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Almost a third of all deaths in Australia, New Zealand and the US are due to CVD and CVD is the leading cause of death in women. Women, ethnic communities and people with disability in particular are disproportionally under-served by the current rationed system. And yet, the costs are massive. CVD health costs in Australia are a staggering $8.8billion pa – 12% of total health expenditure. In the US, USD$555 billion pa.  Every year.

The challenge around health illiteracy is also rising...

What is not so well understood, is the extent of health illiteracy in populations, and the impact this has on service design; the devastating impact on health outcomes; and the unmeetable costs. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, only 41% of adult Australians had a level of health literacy that would allow them to meet the complex demands of everyday life. In New Zealand, 80% of the male Māori population and 75% Māori women have poor health literacy skills.

And notwithstanding the massive CVD health costs and budgets, the human experience impact of this is that millions of people are unable to understand and apply health information; unable to complete healthcare forms; unable to read and understand brochures, health websites and apps; and unable to understand medication instructions and dosage concepts.  

These are the wicked gatekeepers – illiteracy and innumeracy – further stigmatizing the chronically ill, the disadvantaged and under-served in our communities.  

When the International Society for Vascular Health stated that: 

“We will need to address the health literacy problem in order to make the next great advance in postponing cardiovascular disease.”

...the challenge presented was, how will this ever be achieved, even within a generation?

Meeting the challenge NOW

The Digital Human Cardiac Coach brings this seemingly impossible challenge within reach, NOW. 

Co-founder and CEO Marie Johnson led the Nadia project in Australia – the world’s first AI digital human for service delivery co-designed with people with disability.  And the backstory is a passionate, personal humanitarian literally heart-breaking mission with her aeronautical engineer husband’s journey through the health systems in the US and Australia. 

From his own lived experience, co-founder and heart patient Al Johnson asks “what if we could find a way for people, including people disadvantaged by health illiteracy, to access and understand cardiac health information…and ask simple their own words...without any time?”

Marie believes that “...the quantum leap with the emergence of AI digital humans in health care is a convergence that creates systems that are more like people. Embodied, empathetic human-like interactions that bring back the conversations people so desperately seek.”

Danny Tomsett, CEO of FaceMe, adds: “It’s only when we view AI through the lens of its potential for humanity – that we’ll truly understand its power.”

And the significance of the name “12080”? 120/80 is the gold standard for blood pressure and is emphasised as part of cardiac rehabilitation and education programs.  

Marie will be speaking about the Digital Human Cardiac Coach at the Women Economic Forum (WEF)being held in Perth from 5th– 7thJuly.

Women Economic Forum (WEF) Perth, 5 July - 7 July 2019

Women Economic Forum (WEF) Perth, 5 July - 7 July 2019

For the first time, the Women Economic Forum (WEF) is being held in Australia, in Perth from 5th -7th July. The theme is "Empowering Women: Making a Difference". Marie will be speaking on the digital human cardiac coach for women's health, and the 4th Industrial Revolution (although in Marie’s view, what’s coming is the 1st humanitarian revolution).


Augmented Health(care)™ : “the end of the beginning”. By Dr Lucien Engelen

Lucien Engelen is the founding director of the REshape Center for (healthcare) innovation (since 2010) at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen The Netherlands. As of May 2018, he was appointed as Global Strategist Digital Health Edge Fellow at the Deloitte Center for the Edge, He is also core faculty at Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine in Silicon Valley (since 2011) and CEO of his own company called Transform.Health, an expert in front-end healthcare innovation and a passioned and valued inspirational public speaker on the change of health(care).

Honoured to have made a contribution under Theme 5: This revolution will not stop – Chapter 48 “Digital Humans in Healthcare“.

Can you imagine a world in which Digital Humans play the role of cardiac coach?

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What is Artificial Intelligence?

“What is Artificial Intelligence?” Listen to Podcast

The “Don’t Stop Us Now” Podcast is developed by Greta Thomas and Claire Hatton. The podcast series highlights stories from innovative and pioneering women around the globe, getting to know the person behind the story – and as Greta and Claire say “you know, the one who has experienced the same kind of doubts, fears and tough times as most of us have.”

In this episode “What is Artificial Intelligence“, Greta and Claire explore all things AI, with the amazing UK-based Kriti Sharma and the Canberra-based Centre for Digital Business, Marie Johnson.


Exponential Tech Tuesday: Digital Humans in Health and Care


The 2019 series of Exponential TechTuesday started January 29th with an exciting theme: Digital Humans in Health and Care. Digital Humans are virtual appearances of ourselves or personal assistants, with the face of a real human. The development of these avatars, that can recognize human emotions of a user, is going extremely fast. So fast, that sometimes they seem indistinguishable from real humans… How can these forms of Artificial Intelligence add value to health and healthcare? Introducing the Digital Human Cardiac Coach.

*   Danny Tomsett (Founder and CEO of FaceMe, a Digital Human company)    

*   Piers Smith (Cognitive architect and project lead of Nadia, one of the first Digital Humans, created for and with people with disabilities)    

*   Marie Johnson (Managing Director and Chief Digital Officer of the Centre for Digital Business and co-creator of Nadia with the National Disabilities Insurance Agency)    

*   Mystery speaker X. Will X be virtual… or digital?

In 2016 the Global Network of Healthcare Innovation Centers (GNHIC) was founded, to help adopt emerging technologies in healthcare. Exponential TechTuesday is one of the programs within the GNHIC, with which we explain these new technological developments and tell about their relevance to our colleagues and partners.

HotTopics…In the Fast Lane…Digital Humans and the First Humanitarian Revolution

HotTopics…In the Fast Lane…Digital Humans and the First Humanitarian Revolution

60 seconds with HotTopics.HT Interviewed by HotTopics at the O’Reilly AI Conference London October 2018 – talking about AI-powered digital human cardiac coach, AI-powered digital human reading coach and the digital human Nadia. The first humanitarian revolution – democraticising access. 

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We Stopped the Conversation for Two Decades – AI is Bringing it Back

We Stopped the Conversation for Two Decades – AI is Bringing it Back

Author Marie Johnson.  Published in CIO Magazine. 28 October 2017.

The past 20 years avoided the conversation and the human experience, because it was believed that conversations were unaffordable. Next 20 years is exactly the opposite. The conversation economy will explode across the globe in all sectors – from enterprise through to consumer.


“Putting a Face onto AI: Get Ready for the Digital Human Workforce.”

Marie presented at the O’Reilly AI Conference London October 2018.

Watch the presentation: “Putting a Face onto AI: After Nadia, Get Ready for the Digital Human Workforce.”


Are we seeing the 1st Humanitarian Revolution where “workforce” # “work” + “force”? Where the ethics of opportunity will force a shift away from the one size fits nobody. Marie talks about AI, human rights, ethics, digital human cardiac coach, digital human reading coach, and emerging economic and social ecosystems. Democratised access where the gatekeepers of literacy, power and privilege are removed

AFR Innovation Summit, Sydney, July 2018

Looking to the future with a vision of what’s possible, Marie closed out the AFR Innovation Summit in Sydney, held 30-31 July 2018.

Marie spoke about her next humanitarian project – Digital Human Cardiac Coach  in collaboration with @FaceMe. And other humanitarian applications of AI, such as the Digital Human Reading Coach.

Great feedback about positive humanitarian uses of AI. ‪

1st Humanitarian Revolution – not 4IR.


Why artificial intelligence is a human right

Why artificial intelligence is a human right.

And how these rights drive breakthroughs in innovation through co-design.

Author Marie Johnson

Published 27 June 2018 on CIO Australia

2018 is a monumental year regarding human rights; it’s the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a remarkable document to be read in conjunction with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This year also marks the Convention’s 10th anniversary.

As the artificial intelligence (AI) era inexorably unfolds across every dimension of our life, the principles enshrined in these two human rights documents can steer this great innovation in a direction that will benefit all humanity.


Future Ready – Podcast Series on Big Tech Trends

“Podcast 12.  Artificial Intelligence – intelligence for whom?”  Published on iTunes. Released 19 March 2018.

Are you ready for the next wave of tech changes? Future Ready dives deep into the big tech trends we’re facing today and what it means for the future of Australian business and society. From AI to Blockchain, Cyber Security, Data and more. Tune in to hear opinions and insights from industry experts and technologists as they explore the impacts and applications of the technologies transforming our world. Future Ready is brought to you by Westpac, with expert commentary by iTnews. Tune in to hear Marie Johnson talk about AI and the critical role of co-design in achieving empathetic embodied conversational digital humans.