Are robots the future of therapy?
Lying on your shrink’s couch is so last century. Artificial intelligence means you can unburden your soul to some software
Last week the world’s most sophisticated humanoid robot beguiled onlookers as it cracked jokes with Devi Sankaree Govender of Carte Blanche at the SAP Now Africa conference in Sandton. Sophia the robot has garnered worldwide fame as she tries to make humans connect with their humanity and not fear the future. The robot has a Twitter account and makes appearances on talk shows and at tech conferences across the globe where it moves its finely tuned mechanical face to depict a range of human emotions in an effort to upend the "uncanny valley" theory. This theory is based on Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori’s 1970s hypothesis that if an object closely resembles a human but doesn’t quite nail it, it evokes revulsion in real humans. However, it may not be true, and instead can be exploited as a therapeutic tool. Sophia is the robotic star of the Loving AI project, a new initiative in which researchers use artificial intelligence (AI) "agents" that can "communicate unconditional love to ...