Tom Insel is “The Smartphone Psychiatrist” at Mindstrong Health | The Atlantic

Tom Insel is “The Smartphone Psychiatrist” promoting his employer ‘Mindstrong’;
David Dobbs; In The Atlantic; 2017-07.

tl;dr → a promotion of Mindstrong Health, announcing $14M in funding today
tl;dr → a hagiogaphy of Dr. Thomas Insel, its public face.


Mindstrong Health Raises $14 Million in Series-A Funding; press release; 2017-06-15.
Teaser: Founding team includes the former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Tom Insel, and former Director of the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Richard Klausner

Tom Insel
  • Mindstrong, startup, Palo Alto, CA
  • Product Manager (Director?), Verily (the ‘V’ in the Alphabet pantheon as Google’s “health” hobby).
  • (ex-)National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
  • other institutions in the article.
Mindstrong Health

At the bottom


  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)
  • Verily of Google
    Mountain View, CA
  • Tom Insel
    • one of four brothers
    • curriculum vitae in the article
    • Pleasanton, CA
  • H. Herbert Insel
    • father of Tom Insel
    • an eye surgeon
    • Dayton, OH
  • clomipramine
  • OCD
  • prairie-vole
  • Insel, Wang, and Young
  • biology vs environment, teach the controversy (nature vs nurture)
  • Thomas Insel; Towards a New Understanding of Mental Illness; TED Talk, 2013.


<quote>The force they hope to harness is the power of daily behavior, trackable through smartphone use, to reflect one’s mental health. As people start to slide into depression, for instance, they may do several of the following things easily sensed by a phone’s microphones, accelerometers, GPS units, and keyboards: They may talk with fewer people; and when they talk, they may speak more slowly, say less, and use clumsier sentences and a smaller vocabulary. They may return fewer calls, texts, emails, Twitter direct messages, and Facebook messages. They may pick up the phone more slowly, if they pick up at all, and they may spend more time at home and go fewer places. They may sleep differently. Someone slipping toward a psychotic state might show similar signs, as well as particular changes in syntax, speech rhythm, and movement.</quote>


<quote>Psychiatry has always struggled to be taken seriously as a science. By the 1980s, the field seemed especially lost. Its best drugs were from the 1950s and ’60s. Most of its hospitals, their failings made infamous by works such as Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, had been closed. Talk therapy, which often works, but by psychobiological pathways painfully difficult to discern, was frequently lampooned. For these and other reasons, including its penchant for savage infighting, psychiatry in the ’70s was “a collection of diverse cults rather than a medical science,” as Melvin Sabshin, a onetime medical director of the American Psychiatric Association, later put it. </quote>

<quote>A therapist, the joke goes, knows in great detail how a patient is doing every Thursday at 3 o’clock.>/quote>



the two components necessary to any approach to mental-health care—assessment

  1. collection and analysis of “data”
    • self-attested by the patient
    • logged by the phone
  2. intervention
    • informal social
    • medical support, inpatient
    • medical support, outpatient

prime, an app

  • prime → (Personalized Real-time Intervention for Motivation Enhancement
  • Danielle Schlosser
    • a clinical psychologist
    • recruited to Verily from the psychiatry department at UC San Francisco by Thomas Insel
    • developed prime. a monitoring app, for an outpatient’s phone
  • Concept
    Social proof to the cohort that they are all “normal” people who are able to “function.”
  • Applicable
    • people ages 14 to 30
    • recently diagnosed with schizophrenia
  • Feature-Function

    1. modeled on Facebook
      i.e. a circle of ‘friends’
    2. connecting people so they can turn to one another for help, perspective, and affirmation.
    3. reading material → set of motivational essays, talks, and interactive modules
      [which] guide with decisions and review dilemmas common among the membership.
    4. monitoring & alerting → spotting emerging crises and responding with peer, social-service, and clinician support.


Mindstrong Health

  • co-founders
    • Richard Klausner
    • Paul Dagum
    • Michael Friberg
  • Palo Alto
  • something about 2017-05, probably the date of the interview for the article
  • Roles
    • Insel → expertise and connections in the mental-health field
    • Klausner → business
    • Dagum → data-analysis


<quote ref=”presser>Based in Palo Alto, California, Mindstrong’s patented science and technology was developed by Dr. Dagum, and is based on four years of extensive clinical studies applying machine intelligence to human-computer interactions patterns. Mindstrong products are in clinical trials in numerous partnership projects with payers, providers, academics and the pharmaceutical industry to bring these new tools to bear on answering the most fundamental questions in behavioral health. Its Board of Directors includes Richard Klausner, MD, Jim Tananbaum, MD, Robert Epstein, MD, Thomas Insel, MD, and Paul Dagum, MD PhD.</quote>


  • Mindstrong does assessment.
  • Mindstrong does “learning-based mental-health care.”
  • Mindstrong does continuous assessment and feedback [which] would drive the interventions.
  • Mindstrong does measurement-based practices [would be for] all therapies

<quote>Smartphones can track daily behaviors that reflect mental health. A phone can sense the beginning of a crisis and trigger an appropriate treatment response. This idea has been floating around Silicon Valley and mental-health circles for several years. Insel estimates that a good five or 10 other companies or research teams—including Verily—are trying to do something similar. Mindstrong hopes to gain an edge by combining Insel’s expertise and connections in the mental-health field with Klausner’s business experience and Dagum’s data-analysis tools and skills—and by moving quickly.</quote>


  • 2018 & 2019 → testing phone-based data-collection-and-analysis systems,
  • 2019 & 2020 → explore ways to partner with others to provide intervention.

Intellectual Property

three patents for a data-collection-and-analysis system for such purposes.
Paul Dagum designed this system [is a named inventor?]


  • Mindstrong will collect information
  • Mindstrong will use an opt-in
  • Mindstrong will use encryption
    <quote>all data will be strongly encrypted</quote>
  • Mindstrong will use HIPPA<quote>All data will be firewalled according to strict patient-privacy practices.</quote>
  • Mindstrong will only store metadata
    • not
      • voice
      • typed
    • e.g.
      • semantic structures
      • repeated use of key words or phrases
      • estimated
      • emotional state
      • cognitive states,

        • depression,
        • mania,
        • psychosis,
        • cognitive confusion.


Verily (Google)

  • Andy Conrad, CEO
  • <quote>a 500-person company (Verily>part of a 74,000-person company (Alphabet)
  • South San Francisco

7 Cups

  • Has an app.
  • Another private venture.
  • Glen Moriarty, CEO
  • Insels daughter NAME is an employee.
  • Demographic
    • young
    • diverse
    • 90% are under the age of 35
    • “likely to go underserved by traditional mental-health care.”
  • Applies DASS‑21Anonymizes the results.

<quote>7 Cups provides text-based peer counseling and support for people with depression or anxiety or a long list of other conditions. Registering for the simpler services, such as peer connection, takes only seconds, and users can also get referrals to either coaches or licensed mental-health counselors and psychologists.</quote>


DASS-21 → Depression Anxiety Stress Scales

DASS, University of New South Wales, AU

There is a manual


Why Daniel Gelertner, Dittach, Is Not Looking to Hire Computer-Science Majors

Why I’m Not Looking to Hire Computer-Science Majors; Daniel Gelertner; In The Wall Street Journal (WSJ); 2015-08-28.

Lost me at “hegemon.” That’s a $10 word from academe where the departments =~ m/\bstudies$/i; and they use “privilege” as a verb in an argot. Without irony. Fancy. As well, even credulous Millennials will see the author’s endeavor, as stated, isn’t a business so much as a checkbox on a subpanel on a stock-standard expected feature of the MUA. Those Millies are wily, they can smell this; they want to work on World Changing Ideas, like taxi hailing, laundry scheduling or pizza delivery.


  • Daniel Gelertner
    • Dittach, CEO, 2014-08→now
    • Lifestreams, bizdev, 2012→now (concurrent with Dittach), licensee of Mirror Worlds
    • Managed Interface Tech, engineer?, 2009-11→2011-01.
    • University of the Republic, designer, 2007-04→2008-06.
    • Yale, Class ’10, B.A. Music
  • Dittach, CrunchBase
    <quote spelling=”theirs”>Dittach is a moblie app that syncs with you emaill account making finiding attachments much easier and more efficiant.</quote>
  • Daniel Gelertner (son) vs David Gelertner (father)
  • el’s previous & current endeavor was LifeStreams of Mirror Worlds
  • Computer Scientist David Gelernter; Alexandra Wolfe; In The Wall Street Journal (WSJ); 2013-11-29.
    Teaser: Can the computer scientist help make computers more intuitive?
  • Mirror Worlds, In Jimi Wales Wiki

The digital ad business is broken, says Jim Spanfeller, former CEO | VentureBeat

The digital ad business is broken, says former CEO; ; In VentureBeat; 2015-08-08.


  • Jim Spanfeller
    • CEO, The Daily Meal, a  publisher
    • ex-CEO,
    • ex-editor, Yahoo Internet Life
    • Chairman Emeritus, Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)
  • Viewability
  • WhiteOps
  • (a fictitious synthetic publisher)
  • fake traffic, generated traffic, fraud
  • premium publishers
  • private marketplaces
  • transparency
  • viewability guaratees
  • Quoted
    • Ari Brandt, CEO, MediaBrix (an ad network).
  • Device IDs (IDFA, GPSAID)
  • “buy environments” → content targeting
  • Something about how IP address targeting is highly inaccurate.
  • <quote>And third-party data “is fundamentally useless.”</quote>, attributed to Jim Spanfeller.

Mindfulness is a capitalist grift: How faux enlightenment maintains our status quo | Salon

Mindfulness is a capitalist grift: How faux enlightenment maintains our status quo; ; In Salon; 2015-07-15.
Teaser: The meditative practice favored by America’s titans of industry bears no relation to its anti-materialist origins
The article originally appeared on AlterNet.

tl;dr → U R Doin it Rong.

Drawbridge’s Hiring Of Winston Crawford, Ex-iAd Exec, Reflects Wider Use Cases For Identity, Location Data | GeoMarketing

Drawbridge’s Hiring Of Ex-iAd Exec Reflects Wider Use Cases For Identity, Location Data; David Kaplan; In GeoMarketing; 2015-07-17.


  • Winston Crawford
    • COO, Drawbridge
    • ex: “head” (director?), iAd Marketplaces, Apple.
    • <quote>I look forward to joining Drawbridge and maximizing that potential at scale. Connecting and understanding consumers across multiple devices without relying on personal information is an incredibly powerful asset.</quote>
  • Drawbridge
    • Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan
    • Lines of Busniess
      • Insertion-order media sales through its platform,
      • Insertion-order media sales through its self-serve model,
      • Connected Graph licensing.

Sundar Pichai of Google Talks About Phone Intrusion | NYT

Sundar Pichai of Google Talks About Phone Intrusion; Conor Dougherty; In The New York Times (NYT); 2015-07-12.
Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products, Google


  • Something about “it’s early days.”
  • Something about “it’s like TV”
    wherein the lumpenproletariat types spend 6 hours a day watching TV; same with smartphones.
  • Something about telemarketing spam via PSTN voice: “technology” cannot yet distinguish between friends & family (wanted calls) and telemarketers (unwanted calls).
  • Definition of user centric: centered upon the user [consumer].
  • Something about how it isn’t possible to go “off the record” without special affordances built into the system.  Whereas computers are infinite surveillance & recording devices; he doesn’t frame it as the perjorative.
  • Something about interruptions; notifications that cannot be quieted.
  • Something about how products need to have restraint, which is undefined.
  • It isn’t possible to order people to sequester their phones during a corporate dinner on corporate time.  Story about corporate pressists and industry bloggists needing constant contact; especially right before the [Google I/O] trade show.
  • Crooning about good design.


Brand Names

  • Android Wear
  • Android Auto
  • Google Now
  • Google Priority Inbox
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Chrome
  • Google Search

How Ads Follow You from Phone to Desktop to Tablet | MIT Technology Review

How Ads Follow You from Phone to Desktop to Tablet; Adam Tanner; In MIT Technology Review; 2015-07-01.
Teaser: Advertisers are increasingly using technology that targets users across multiple devices, and it’s working.


The Logjam Attack: How Diffie-Hellman Fails in Practice

Logjam: How Diffie-Hellman Fails in Practice

tl;dr → server supports DHE_EXPORT ciphers; client willing to accept any directive to downgrade

Adrian et al. (14 authors); Imperfect Forward Secrecy: How Diffie-Hellman Fails in Practice; 2015-05-20; 13 pages.


Keeping Secrets | Stanford Magazine

Keeping Secrets; Henry Corrigan-Gibbs; In Stanford Magazine on Medium; 2015-(04?)


  • National Security Agency (NSA)
  • International Symposium on Information Theory
    • Cornell University
    • 1977-10-10
  • Martin Hellman, Steve Pohlig, Ralph Merkle; Distribution-Free Inequalities for the Deleted and Holdout Error Estimates; In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Information Theory; 1977-10-10.
  • Martin Hellman, Whitfield Diffie; New Directions in Cryptography; 1976.
  • IEEE Transactions on Information Theory
  • Computer (Magazine)
  • Joseph A. Meyer, NSA
    • Wrote to IEEE
    • Discovered by
      • Deborah Shapley
      • Gina Kolata
      • Science (Magazine)
  • John Schwartz, counsel, Stanford University
  • Bobby Ray Inman
    • Vice Admiral
    • Director of NSA, 1977-Q3.
  • Steven Levy; Crypto; 2001.
  • The RSA Cryptosystem
    • Ron Rivest, MIT
    • Adi Shamir, MIT
    • Leonard Adleman, MIT.
  • Scientific American, 1977-09.
    • publishes the RSA system.
  • Susan Landau; Privacy on the Line; 2007.
  • Agencies
    • National Security Agency (NSA)
    • Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
    • Office of Naval Research
    • Army Research Office
    • National Bureau of Standards (NBS)
  • Data Encryption Standard (DES)
    • 64 bits vs 48 bits
    • compromise: 56 bits
  • Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists
  • Theft of the designs of the F-35
  • Day After Trinity, a documentary, a movie