Chatbot Therapy

Digital wellness help is on the rise, but it still holds the bias of its human programmers. 


John Stonestreet

Timothy D Padgett

Anxious or depressed? Now you can download a digital therapist to your phone. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Chatbots that hold therapist-like conversations and wellness apps that deliver depression and other diagnoses or identify people at risk of self-harm are snowballing across employers’ healthcare benefits.” 

On one hand, given the erroneous beliefs of many human therapists, how bad could it be? It’s kind of like driving in Colorado since the legalization of pot. Maybe self-driving Teslas are a safer bet.  

On the other hand, if in Canada, will the therapist AI bot on my phone help me or ask if I’d rather die? 

The underlying challenge of all AI is that it is programmed by fallible, biased humans. Whether it’s the errors that creep into an automatic car or the assumptions driving the therapy bot, our human frailties will always be a part of even our best technologies. 


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