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Chatterbot therapists (computer-based counselling)..

August 5, 2014

It is interesting that drug companies and governments put billions into drug development and sales but when it comes to (non-drug) based therapy there is very little R&D or other developments.

One example of this trend is computer based chatterbots or robots you can talk to. Very primitive early computer “psychotherapists” existed already in 1980s (commodere C64 programs) but now when the modern AI could maybe finally be sophisticated enough to give some real benefit from talking to a computer, there is virtually no research in this area(?). Instead of developing programs, people can get advices or help from, they develop more and more drugs.

Some ideas: download wikipedia and some other databases and use them as a starting point of calculating relationships and between things (statistical natural language processing). Then study more computer based NLP.

Is a starting point but chatterbots programs they sell are way too primitive. Maybe IBM’s Watson could be good example what can be done.


1) research & develop (study NLP, psychology, machine learning)
2) marketing
3) more marketing
4) sell web service or programs [profit!] (computer therapy/counselling for MILD problems)

It is interesting that mere talking to somebody about your problems can help people. There need no be even any solutions but someone needs to give some kind of (emotional) support, be empathic or something – just somebody who listens to you. For this, voice recognition and making the chatterbot to feel and look like a real human being can be important.

Maybe simple robot with emotional listening capabilities could be enough to make people feel better or something.

So not giving therapy (but calling it “therapy” for marketing reasons) but solving problems like: empathic listener, giving semigood advices (automatic wikipedia/google search results and analysis), calming people down, loneliness, giving opinions might make some kind of sense. (A very good friend = bad therapist so it might be enough to give some support)

PS. Yes, it is sad if you need to create a robot to talk to instead of meeting real people. But maybe it is better than drugs…


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