David's work initially focused on music and artificial intelligence, but when he nearly died of a heart attack, he changed his life. He retrained as a neuroscientist and experimental psychologist, focusing on the effects of burnout on the mind and body.
Dr David Plans initially studied music and artificial intelligence. He was interested in how humans improvise and wanted to understand how future forms of AI might understand emotional intention.
But while David was running a small startup, he experienced a cardiac event that made him re-examine everything. How is it possible for people to die of exhaustion and malnutrition? Why do we stop feeling our bodies when we're stressed?
To understand, these questions, David started first exploring meditative and movement-based practices, looking at theological and philosophical explanations of suffering, and eventually retrained in neuroscience and founded a startup that offered large organisations a way to measure burnout using computational psychiatry.
In the process of building and selling this company, David experienced burnout again, nearly twenty years on from the onset of that heart failure, and this time fell into a depression that nearly took his life. In the end, David realised that he had built a technological solution to a flesh-born problem. He's now a lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London, where he focuses on creating new forms of therapy that put the body first.