Perhaps proving that peace is possible, a majority of humans in one survey said that they’d trust robots with their mental health.
If there’s one subtle victim of 2020’s pandemic, it may well be our assumption that we know up from down, and friend from foe. The years previous have been highlighted by a familiar antagonist, our fear of technology, or more accurately put, what our robot creations will do to us when they join the dots.
Sophia, the AI Saudi national better known as the “hot robot” who wants to kill us all, is probably the finest example of our nervous laughter. But, our attention should also go to Tay, the well-meaning chatbot we taught to be racist. My point is that the lines are clearly drawn. We’re over here, they’re over there.
However, a study (established by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence) of over 12,000 workers over twelve countries has suggested that we may be ready to lower our guard. Simply put, a staggering 82% of respondents have claimed that they’d rather trust a machine with their mental health over their average human counterpart. Which is as staggering as it is emboldening. What’s this awkwardness warm feeling I’m feeling?
B&T summarised the rest of the findings thusly: “People want more from technology than collaboration tools and instead want technology to support their mental health.
“Only 18 per cent of people would prefer humans over robots to support their mental health as they believe robots provide a judgement-free zone (34 per cent), an unbiased outlet to share problems (30 per cent), and quick answers to health-related questions (29 per cent).
“68 per cent of people would prefer to talk to a robot over their manager about stress and anxiety at work and 80 per cent of people are open to having a robot as a therapist or counsellor.
“75 per cent say AI has helped their mental health at work. The top benefits noted were providing the information needed to do their job more effectively (31 per cent), automating tasks and decreasing workload to prevent burnout (27 per cent), and reducing stress by helping to prioritize tasks (27 per cent).
“AI has also helped the majority (51 per cent) of workers shorten their workweek and allowed them to take longer vacations (51 per cent). Over half of respondents say AI technology increases employee productivity (63 per cent), improves job satisfaction (54 per cent) and improves overall well-being (52 per cent).”