Furthermore, robots do not have a mind of their own; they follow a pre-defined script.Therefore, they are not always able to understand the user and his or her intent.Because of the costs associated with treatment, many individuals who experience mental health problems do not receive timely professional input.Cost is not the only contributing factor; other reasons include a shortage of therapists and the stigma associated with mental illness. Alison Darcy created Woebot, a Facebook-integrated computer program that aims to replicate conversations a patient might have with his or her therapist.When evaluating the use of chatbots in health care, the International Committee of the Red Cross notes in its 2017 report that initial reviews of the messaging-app bots have been mixed.While it has been recognized that they are not expensive and are easy to deploy, some limitations have also been described, such as technical glitches.Woebot is not the first attempt to treat people by placing them in front of an avatar.Other attempts have been made to improve people’s mental health using chatbots.
The digital health technology asks about your mood and thoughts, “listens” to how you are feeling, learns about you and offers evidence-based cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) tools.
Currently, the company is promoting its latest psychological AI product—Tess.
Tess can perform CBT, as well as purportedly improve the burnout associated with caregiving.
The first randomized control trial with Woebot showed that after just two weeks, participants experienced a significant reduction in depression and anxiety.
Furthermore, a high level of engagement was observed, with individuals using the bot nearly every day.
A virtual therapist named Ellie has also been launched and trialed by the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT).