Is There Any possibility Of Robot counselors?
New research has shown for the first time that a social robot can provide a “useful” and “pleasant” motivational interview (MI) – a counseling technique designed to support behavior change.
Participants at the University of Plymouth highly appreciated the “unbiased” nature of the NAO humanoid robot when he conducted his first session, and even said that they would prefer him to a man.
MI is a method that includes a consultant program that supports and encourages someone to talk about their need for change and the reasons for their change.
This method of counseling, designed to support behavior change was conducted in the School of Psychology. The methodology showed that the robot achieved its main goal: it successfully encouraged participants who wanted to increase their physical activity.
MI – this method includes a consultant who supports and encourages someone to talk about their need for change and about the problems of changing them.
The role of the robot was to provoke a conversation. The robot was programmed into a script, talking about what and how it helps to increase physical activity. And some sessions lasted up to an hour.
Professor Jackie Andrade explains that, since robots are perceived as unbiased avatars, they can have advantages over more humanoid representatives for advisory support in behavioral changes.
“We were pleasantly surprised at how easily the participants adapted to the unusual experience of discussing their way of life with the robot,” she said. “In addition, the participants perceived the interaction with the robot as pleasant, interesting and useful. Participants were particularly interested in hearing themselves, as they themselves say about their problems aloud. They liked the fact that the robot did not interrupt them and did not condemn them. The robot consultant has the potential advantage over other technologies, adaptation to AI (artificial intelligence).
“The unbiased nature of the robot, suggests that robots will be especially useful when talking to particularly intimate and sensitive topics.
The first robot-advisers (or robots-consultants), providing services for automatic management of private investors’ funds, appeared in the US back in 2008. They were widely distributed in Australia and Canada. In 2015, the value of assets managed by such robot-advisers was estimated at $ 50 billion, which is three times more than in 2014, follows from the June report of the Central Bank.