In recent years, there’s been a lot of excitement surrounding the potential applications of chatbot technology. As a growing number of businesses have adopted chatbots in an attempt to drive greater efficiency in their customer service departments, there’s also been an increase in the development of chatbots aimed at doing some social good. As Inform Comms have just launched their new Student Chatbot – which increases access and helps make everyday issues like paying council tax that much easier – we thought it was a good time to look at those chatbots having a significant impact on peoples’ lives.
- Babylon – GP chatbot
- Replika – your new best friend
- Woebot – the chatbot therapist
- DoNotPay – refugee and asylum support
- Endurance – for those with dementia
- U-Report – giving a voice to marginalised communities
- Re:Scam – a response to email scammers
The new Babylon chatbot recently hit the news due to claims that it is now able to beat human GPs at the medical exam. The technology, which is designed to diagnose medical conditions by asking patients relevant questions, typically offers several different diagnoses and a percentage score that represents the likelihood of each one being correct.
While the technology was welcomed with open arms by some in the medical profession – particularly NHS England chairman, Malcolm Grant – others were not so sure about its use. Many doctors have suggested that AI may now be able to pass a clinical exam, but this does not mean that it can provide patients with accurate diagnoses. There are also questions as to how the chatbot was tested, as there are no Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) exams in the public domain. That being said, the chatbot does highlight the growing use of AI in the medical industry and how digital services are set to revolutionise the medical profession.
A Replika chatbot is designed to be your new best friend, offer emotional support, and remain non-judgmental no matter what you tell it. In an increasingly isolated and alienated society, in which a growing number of young people report that they often feel lonely, this may prove to be one of the most popular uses for a chatbot yet.
The premise will be familiar to anyone that’s seen the fantastic film Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix. Replika is an AI “personality” that you name, share your innermost thoughts and feelings with, and discuss problems, events, and stresses. As a means of recording the goings-on in your life, it’s incredibly effective. Replika also learns as you talk, becoming increasingly personal and developing into a true best friend. For those that find it difficult to express themselves, this chatbot could prove an incredibly useful tool.
Having played a prominent role at Google in recent years, Andrew Ng has become one of the most recognisable names in the field of AI. So when he attached his name to a project that aimed to bring interactive cognitive behavioural therapy to users suffering from depression via a chatbot platform, a lot of people sat up and took notice. Woebot is an attempt to provide a form of digital mental health care that reaches younger generations.
In the U.S., around 50% of all college students report that they suffer from anxiety or depression and UK mental health services have also found themselves under a great deal of strain. In some areas, there’s talk of a mental health epidemic amongst younger generations. As specialists look for ways to alleviate this problem, there has been an increased focus on how help is administered – Woebot is an example of how new technologies are being used to target those who may otherwise miss out on treatment.
DoNotPay began life as a chatbot that helped users overturn more than 160,000 parking fines across the UK. Having described DoNotPay as the first real “robot lawyer,” the chatbot’s creators have now shifted its focus to concentrate on helping refugees complete their immigration application in the U.S. and to apply for asylum support in the UK. The chatbot is learning to handle more than a 1,000 legal processes, that could help users protect themselves and save money in the future.
Those who have dementia often struggle to hold down coherent conversations. As the illness progresses, their communication abilities decline, they become unable to follow the thread that joins up individual statements, and they often repeat themselves. This can lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, and frustration on behalf of the sufferer. It’s also difficult for those loved ones supporting them.
Endurance is a chatbot that aims to provide people living with dementia with a companion who can also identify deviations from typical conversation branches. These deviations often indicate that the sufferer’s memory functions are not operating as they should, with repeated deviations pointing to a deterioration in their condition. Currently, the bot is an open source project, available to anyone who wants to help develop technology that allows us to understand Alzheimer’s better.
U-Report is a free chatbot service that aims to provide a voice for those who may not otherwise be heard. It facilitates greater community participation and allows users to express their opinions on issues as diverse as education, youth unemployment, healthcare, and hygiene, amongst other things. The chatbot is aimed at marginalised communities around the world and is an attempt to democratise digital space and provide people with a platform to express their thoughts and feelings.
Finally, we thought we’d mention a chatbot that’s perhaps not doing as much as good as those listed above but is still performing a useful function. Re:Scam is a chatbot designed to waste email scammers’ time by playing along with their email correspondence. So far, the chatbot has wasted more than five years of scammers’ time and sent over 1,000,000 emails. While it may not do as much good as a chatbot that helps fill in asylum support applications, it’s an extremely satisfying use of chatbot technology!
Have a question or want further information on how chatbots can help your customers? Our expert team have been providing customer contact solutions for over 25 years. Call us on 01344 595800 or drop us a line.