UWest Sustainable Investing Club attended the USC Brittingham Lab + Jacobson Family Sustainable Impact Lecture, “If society is making us sick, can technology make us saner?” organized by the USC Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise. The event, which took place at the Ronald Tutor Campus Center, on September 5th, 2018 was joined by 3 UWest students and the SIC faculty Advisor, Dr. Chi Sheh. The founder of Headspace (Richard Pierson), Maslo (Cristina Poindexter) and Boundless Mind (Ramsay Brown), carried out an open discussion about mental health, society, and how radically affordable technologies can make mental health treatment more scalable and successful.
Mr. Pierson presented how Headspace was able to introduce the benefits of meditation to more than 10 million users of its meditation app as well as advancing the field of mindfulness meditation science through clinically validated research in partnership with several large national institutions. Ms. Poindexter talked about the importance of understanding human psychology in the design of technology products and conversational interfaces like the Google Assistant chatbot, which she worked on before founding Maslo. Mr. Brown, a trained neuroscientist, discussed how he and his colleagues at Boundless Mind are trying to apply their expertise in behavior modification and artificial intelligence to disrupt America’s addition to technology. Mr. Ramsay Brown also mentioned the importance of understanding humanity through the lens of an entrepreneur, as he stated, “it is crucial to understand the needs of today within our society and create business plans that will decrease these issues.” The interactive question and answer session that followed the panel discussion touched upon the various ways technology can potentially make mental health treatment more successful, as well as help reverse our digital addition to technology.