the robots are coming
Pedestrians in the Flatiron District might have noticed something different about Madison Square Park today: namely, two large, inflatable igloos stationed at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue, each containing the setting of a therapist’s office.
Those who waited their turn to venture inside the cozy-looking bubbles would discover that they wouldn’t be meeting face-to-face with a therapist — rather, they’d be texting with one.
Don't Be Evil Jokes
It only takes five minutes with Siri to realize that robots are miserable replacements for help from a real person. But artificial intelligence researchers haven’t given up on making robots that can do something more useful than answering basic trivia and telling us where to hide a body.
A team of researchers created an artificially intelligent robot psychologist named Ellie who can ask probing questions, read emotions with 3D cameras and get through a basic therapy session, the Economist reports. Early experiments are showing that people are more likely to be candid and emotional when they think no one is sitting there judging them.
Today’s “Tech Confessional” in BuzzFeed’s FWD tech blog is the stuff of nightmares. Reyhan Harmanci talked with a one-time Google contract worker who told of what sounds like a truly horrifying year dealing with the very worst of the Internet. The unnamed techie basically had to wade through the more hellish aspects of human nature every day, viewing “bestiality, necrophilia, body mutilations (gore, shock, beheadings, suicides), explicit fetishes (like diaper porn) and child pornography.”
As he told BuzzFeed, the anonymous tech guy suffered for his work:
Going to therapy is not only costly, but it’s just so empire. Know what the hip new way to confront your emotional problems is? Texting about them, of course.
Sociologists and psychologists have always argued that in-person communication trumps the digital when it comes to catharsis, but IT World reports that medical professionals are coming around in terms of the positive effects of textual communication.