Northwell Holdings Announces $3 Million Strategic Investment in Expressive Communication Startup Hume AI to Empower a New Wave of Empathic Healthcare Applications

Hume AI's platform equips researchers and developers with machine learning tools to better understand vocal and nonverbal communication, improving clinical research, clinical practice, and patient outcomes.

NEW YORK - September 29, 2022 - (

Northwell Holdings, the for-profit investment arm of Northwell Health, New York State's largest healthcare provider and private employer, today announced a strategic investment of $3 million in Hume AI, a leading expressive communication research lab and technology company. The investment aims to address the growing demand for scientific tools to understand language and nonverbal expression in the healthcare industry. Hume AI plans to use the funding to refine their advanced machine learning models for use in health applications, including clinical research, patient screening, and accessibility technology.

These models, accessible through Hume AI's integrated platform, address a significant shortcoming of natural language understanding (NLU) tools, which convert speech into text. NLU tools overlook how the meaning of speech can be transformed dramatically by its tune, rhythm, and timbre, along with nonverbal utterances such as laughs, sighs, and gasps. Such features are particularly important for understanding health conditions such as pain, major depression, and cognitive impairment. With NLU rapidly being integrated into healthcare applications, Hume AI's platform will enable a more accurate understanding of expressive communication at every step of the patient's journey, from screening to diagnosis and treatment.

"Technologies that draw upon the latest scientific research to help us better understand not just what people say, but how they say it, have profound potential to benefit patients," said Rich Mulry, CEO and President of Northwell Holdings. "We already see rising demand for this technology in treatment, clinical research, telehealth applications and more. To promote the careful development of these potentially transformative technologies, we are excited to launch our partnership with Hume AI through an investment that reflects our confidence in Dr. Alan Cowen and his groundbreaking team."

Hume AI builds its models using new peer-reviewed scientific research and algorithms designed to minimize bias. Previous technologies for understanding nonverbal expression have focused on the expression of six emotions—happiness, sadness, anger, disgust, fear, and surprise—based on established psychological models. Scientific research published in leading journals by Hume AI's founder and CEO Dr. Alan Cowen, Chief Scientific Advisor Dr. Dacher Keltner, and colleagues has given rise to a more nuanced theory of human expressive behavior. Known as semantic space theory, this work documents how expressions involve complex patterns in language, speech prosody, nonverbal vocalizations like sighs and chuckles, and movement in more than 30 facial muscles. To translate this research into effective machine learning models, Cowen and his team have collected new experimental data from around the world that allow them to characterize the nuances of expressive communication within and across cultures with less bias and more precision.

"In recent years, there have been major scientific advances in our understanding of expressive communication," Cowen said. "For the first time, we can equip researchers and practitioners in the healthcare space with objective, nuanced, and multidimensional measures of human expression. We are deeply grateful to Northwell Holdings for recognizing the extraordinary potential of this new technology to improve people's lives and address health inequities. Our partnership will support translational researchers studying how expressive signals relate to mood, mental health, and pain in neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as customers developing new interventions to restore emotional intonation to speech aids, annotate emotional context, and guide empathic behavior."

For more information on Hume AI, click here.

About Hume AI 

Hume AI is a leading expressive communication research lab and startup with a mission of aligning technology with human well-being. Based on scientific research that reveals a broader spectrum of expressive behavior than previously known, Hume AI offers the world's most accurate and comprehensive tools for understanding nonverbal expression, including speech prosody, vocalizations like sighs, and facial expressions. Led by founder and CEO Dr. Alan Cowen, an established expert in the field of affective science, Hume AI develops its models using new scientific research that it conducts and regularly publishes in leading journals. The company provides its datasets and models through a unified API platform. Learn more about Hume AI at and follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

About Northwell Holdings

Northwell Holdings ("Holdings"), a fully owned, for-profit subsidiary of Northwell Health, creates value for the health system by investing in early-stage companies, establishing commercial joint ventures, cultivating internally-developed ideas and bringing them to market, and advancing data partnerships that drive innovation in patient care, health diagnostics, and deep technology. We invest in companies that are aligned with Northwell's mission, promote better health outcomes, improve patient experience, and increase efficiencies in care delivery and services. Through strategic partnerships, Holdings leverages the health system's robust enterprise data assets to develop AI-enabled solutions that address healthcare inequities. We combine Northwell Health's clinical and healthcare business expertise and entrepreneurial spirit to bring concepts to life. Northwell Health is New York's largest healthcare system. To learn more, visit us here and follow us on LinkedIn.

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Original Source: Northwell Holdings Announces $3 Million Strategic Investment in Expressive Communication Startup Hume AI to Empower a New Wave of Empathic Healthcare Applications