Are Robots and Chatbots a Good Option to Improve Mental health?

November 8, 2020

Image from Andy Kelly on Unsplash

Introduction:

The morbid coronavirus has led the world to a new set of trials. Every day there are hundreds of thousands of new positive cases across the world.  A large number of people are undergoing emotional breakdowns. Many feel anxious, worried, stressed, and lonely. Many are suffering from panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders. According to a survey from the WHO, 264 million people globally show signs of depression.

According to another survey, 7 in 10 workers would rather talk to a robot than their therapist.

Impact of mental stress at workplace: 

A survey established that 68% of workers are very open to using technology. The ones who want help dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. They use artificial intelligence, digital assistants, chatbots, and robots – to ease their worries.

For a long time, AI has long been worthwhile in handling workplace stress (75%). But today, (82%) believe robots guide them better on mental health problems more than any human. Before the pandemic, using AI for mental health support may have sounded absurd.  “But thanks to human resilience and the ability to adapt. There’s been an almost universal open-mindedness to innovative solutions,” the therapists said.

83% of the global employees said. That they would like their corporation to offer certain technology. Which helps to upkeep their mental health. And contains self-service access to health resources (36%), on-demand therapy services (35%). Active health observing tools (35%) and access to meditation apps (35%). And also chatbots to answer health-related questions (28%). 84% of workers have faced challenges while working. The main factors being no boundary between personal and professional lives (41%). And dealing with increased mental health tasks like stress and anxiety (33%). 

The impact on work performance is noteworthy. 42% said workplace stress, anxiety, or depression causes their output to drop. While 40% said it leads to an upsurge in poor choice making.

How Chatbots work: 

Researchers have seen that people feel content in talking to robots than a therapist. A good example is AI chatbot that helps in areas where physical convenience is not possible. These chatbots have artificial transcripts from therapists and doctors. That permits them to treat a wide range of problems.

Woebot, a chatbot generated by a team of Stanford psychologists and AI experts. The basic construction of the chatbot consists of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It uses controlled exercises. Which inspires a person to question and change their ways of thought. Like a step-by-step guide.

The dark side of Chatbots therapist: 

The researchers acknowledged the hazards of having a robot therapist. They noted that robots that target to offer emotional security risk patients. As they support being very reliant on them. This is a grave worry about the long-term use of AI interferences. As the AI is not meant to be an everlasting presence in someone’s life but to help change their behaviors.

Professionals agree that a robot, no matter how smart, can’t substitute a human therapist in any way. 

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