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AI chatbots are still far from replacing human therapists

March 13, 2023

This is an excerpt of an article written for The Conversation by Ghalia Shamayleh, PhD Candidate, Marketing, Concordia University.

Imagine being stuck in traffic while running late to an important meeting at work. You feel your face overheating as your thoughts start to race along: “they’re going to think I’m a horrible employee,” “my boss never liked me,” “I’m going to get fired.” You reach into your pocket and open an app and send a message. The app replies by prompting you to choose one of three predetermined answers. You select “Get help with a problem.”

An automated chatbot that draws on conversational artificial intelligence (CAI) is on the other end of this text conversation. CAI is a technology that communicates with humans by tapping into “large volumes of data, machine learning, and natural language processing to help imitate human interactions.”

Woebot is an app that offers one such chatbot. It was launched in 2017 by psychologist and technologist Alison Darcy. Psychotherapists have been adapting AI for mental health since the 1960s, and now, conversational AI has become much more advanced and ubiquitous, with the chatbot market forecast to reach US$1.25 billion by 2025.

But there are dangers associated with relying too heavily on the simulated empathy of AI chatbots.

Read the full article

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