Live chat can mend your broken broadband…

…but can it mend your broken heart?

What if I need to just start blubbing to someone who understands? The Charities Aid Foundation has just published a report recommending that charities become ‘ethical guardians’ during the development of AI. Furthermore, that AI will, in all probability, become an integral tool of social change through sophisticated data analysis. It also cites instances of chatbots giving medical advice. Will we soon have the option to phone a chatbot and get support for those sensitive issues normally the preserve of charity helplines? In 2014, the robot Pepper was announced as the first emotionally intelligent robot, able to take over the role of carer even.

But a lot of charity work, even if it uses modern technology such as skype and text, does have an actual human involved, including the Samaritans. Going through something first hand can also be of tremendous importance. I recently heard on Radio 4 about the charity Saying Goodbye which supports those who have suffered miscarriage, run by staff who have been through similar experiences and who know first hand how important ‘goodbye’ can be.

Whether the rise in AI puts charitable activity in a good or bad place depends on your point of view. According to This is Money, in fact the jobs least likely to go are those that involve social interaction of some kind. So that would be most charities, and areas such as marriage guidance, followed closely by those requiring creativity of some kind (such as choreographers) although it is agreed that eventually robots will be able to write books and compose operas of artistic merit. AI is coming increasingly into everyday parlance as well, think of the brilliant Pasha of Strictly fame who is referred to as the ‘Pashbot’.

Personally, I wouldn’t say no to a housekeeping robot, particularly if they were able to keep domestic harmony going too. But have we still a long way to go maybe, before a robot can, with total conviction, say ‘yes I understand, that happened to me too?. We are on board with AI so to speak, and look forward to the future. But for now, do give us a call if you need to and it won’t be a chatbot on the phone. Those in need, who request our assistance, are guaranteed to get the help of an understanding ear, from someone who really wants to help you.

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