Emotional support is important in any kind of relationship. It’s so important that someone was willing to create a machine that will offer it when they can’t get it anywhere else. Judith Masthoff created an algorithm that teaches computers how to provide reassurance and praise during tough times. Due to increased rates of mental health issues and the lack of resources to provide solutions for those issues, Judith thought it would be in everyone’s best interest if they sat at a computer that told them, “Hey, don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing great” or “I know it’s hard, but keep going.” If you ask me, this is pretty brilliant. People are on their computers all day; adults are on their computers at jobs they hate while teens are on their computers, in their rooms, in a house they hate [this week]. A little emotional support from the one thing we spend most of our time with can be the difference between living or dying for some. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on average, there are 117 suicides a day and suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Who knows? Maybe Judith’s new system will save a life or two.
Would you ever use a machine for emotional support?
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