Microsoft filed last November for a patent registration with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to deploy a therapy application running on artificial intelligence. It is designed to provide emotional support to users and to demonstrate a nuanced understanding of their feelings and moods.
At first glance, as News-Café.eu realized, the future app is somewhat between a romantic chatbot and online medical services consultancy with intimate knowledge about the user, indicating the tech giant’s clear intention to venture into medical treatment through this and other tools.
The model seems to be able to process both images and texts, and posits itself as a sort of emergency service to hear you out during a mild emotional crisis, or listen to a confession you’d not like to share with other humans. Once you are done, expect a piece of advice from AI to make you feel better.
The app constructs a user profile by analyzing emotional cues from images and generates a memory record based on both the images and the user profile.
Microsoft's demonstration highlights various capabilities of this bot, featuring a chat window, a processing module, and a response database—attributes that set it apart from conventional AI-powered therapy chatbots.
Additionally, the application includes modules for answering questions, emotion analysis, memory creation, user testing, and information storage.
Beyond these features, the Microsoft AI therapist stands out by recalling past conversations and seamlessly incorporating them into subsequent sessions. Furthermore, it can offer personalized dietary and medication recommendations based on individual health needs, creating a holistic user experience.
Notably, the chatbot can conduct both explicit and implicit psychological tests with users. Explicit tests involve direct questions, while implicit tests monitor user responses to provide feedback.
The implicit psychological test can be triggered based on the user's emotional state, session content, or other factors. Once triggered, the bot selects appropriate psychological questions for the test, drawing from the current session and a knowledge graph.
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Over time, the app becomes more “experienced” regarding the user’s psychological needs and will be able to elaborate a long-term customized strategy, perhaps getting to know him or her better than the user is aware about him/herself.
Whether the comfort from an intelligent machine compares with a warm hug or an intimate talk with a human peer remains to be seen. Nonetheless, it looks like artificial intelligence gains traction in listening to our secrets (as well as recording, processing, storing) and this could be the end of sincere conversations between people.
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