How would you be able to tell if this article was being written by an actual human being, or by a non-sentient, artificially intelligent chatbot? You wouldn’t, but I promise you I have a heart and feelings. Now, there’s a Facebook chatbot that can acknowledge and assist with your emotions, just as any human like I could. Introducing: Woebot.
Every day, you can have this little messenger check in on you to talk about your problems, anxiety, or whatever is on your mind. He’ll ask you what’s wrong, offer support, and you can talk to him about anything without the feeling of being judged. Woebot was developed by a team at Stanford University, but it’s goal is to teach some things that can’t be learned through college education: coping strategies.
Some people will feel more comfortable chatting to an online AI than a real person, because social anxiety is a huge factor in how we as humans deal with problems. On the other hand, typing out your concerns and problems can be a risk to your security and privacy, so most users have to weigh their options. At the end of the day, you should use whatever method you feel most comfortable with; professional psychiatrists ensure that chatbots will not be taking over the therapy industry anytime soon.
As most people know, however, Chatbots have taken over other industry markets and are used by businesses and social platforms excessively. There’s always the annoyance of being greeted by a chatbot when trying to contact customer service through a website, but if more chatbots like Woebot are designed, we can focus on the positive aspects of these types of services rather than the negatives.