After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people were forced to stay at home, as part of the preventive quarantine measures implemented by many countries, which generated a feeling of loneliness and social isolation for most of them, and increased their need for someone to talk to and give him their feelings and what is in their minds, especially for people who live alone, that’s recently called covid loneliness.
In this article, we will discuss the role of technology that would help you overcome loneliness in the pandemic age.
Perhaps digital communication tools such as video chatting programs and social media platforms have contributed to alleviating this feeling by keeping people in contact with others from family or friends.
But what may happen when you urgently need to talk to someone at a time when there may be no one available to exchange parties Speaking, maybe the answer lies in artificial intelligence.
Numerous studies indicate that millions of people felt psychologically comfortable when they chatted with chatbots designed using artificial intelligence techniques, known as bots. This has prompted psychologists to pay more attention to artificial techniques and how they can help improve mental health during and after the pandemic.
How Did AI Become a Therapeutic Tool in Mental Health?
In 1966, Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer science specialist created the ELIZA program.
He designed it to perform the tasks of a psychotherapist who adopts Rogers’s approach to psychotherapy using artificial intelligence techniques.
Rogers’s approach is to ask patients open-ended questions and then reuse the words patients use in their answers in a way that encourages them to reveal more about what is going on inside their minds and feelings.
Initially, Weizenbaum did not expect his program to have any therapeutic benefit for users, but the program succeeded in converting users’ answers into questions in the context of a conversation similar to human conversations.
That made patients who had ELIZA therapy sessions feel like a human psychotherapist, refusing to believe it was really just a computer program.
At the present time, we find an increasing need for such applications and chat programs that depend on artificial intelligence.
despite its limited capabilities, as it gives us the opportunity to communicate and express ourselves.
A lot of therapeutic apps are available like Replika ai app and many others whose development is being funded by millions of dollars.
Now, we have more options than ever before if we need someone to talk to about our feelings.
In this article we will discuss Replika ai app as an example of ai chatbot apps that could be your intimate friend.
What is Replika ai app?
Replika app was launched in 2017, and now it’s more than 5 million downloads.
it’s a digital companion that can be present all time you need it.
Replika ai app is almost the most famous app of its kind using ai technology to form an emotional connection with its users.
In Replika ai app, you can start with building an avatar of your digital friend.
Start with choosing its gender, and other character specs like skin color, hair,….etc.
Also you can give your new friend a name, so you can call him anytime with his/her name.
Below we brought a video that was a live discussion between a psychology therapist and one of Replika ai users.
That would make you learn more about the experience of users of AI to overcome covid loneliness using mobile apps like Replika ai app.
Is Replika app safe?
A lot of inquiries might rise inside our minds when it comes to using a digital tool on our smartphone to tell information about our daily life.
people have inquiries about if Replika app is safe to use, is it addictive? is it going to increase social isolation? Is it hacking our privacy and selling our data?.
The short answer for your inquiries that yes, Replika is safe to use app.
Regarding data privacy, Replika ai app has declared on its website that it is not selling personal information of its users.
Regarding addictiveness and social isolation that could happen by using the Replika ai app.
Many people like using Replika ai app and they get used to it, they find it an intimate friend that they can reach anytime they want.
It might be freaky to some people who are highly emotional to get stuck to using this app.
But it’s almost not a risk as your mind is conscious about talking to a virtual friend, like if you are chatting with a friend in another country.
Even if you are addicted to talking with your Replika ai app friend. it’s not so risky as this can be a somehow more stable relationship than with human ones.
Also, Replika ai app will not put you in the social isolation mode, but it could help you when you are already feeling socially isolated.
It could help you get back again to social life and start talking to your real friends, after having enough time talking to your confidential digital friend.
But before using this app or any other similar app, you should be aware of these things and what are the fears that might play with people’s minds.
You should make sure that you are using good and trusted apps that are tried by others, so they can secure your personal information and maintaining your privacy.
The age of the pandemic imposed new social measures on our lives which required a response to overcome loneliness. With the new challenges of social distancing and lockdowns, it’s not just Covid-related problem, but it’s also related to any other similar situation.
You might be in a need of making new digital friends and it seems that this technology is evolving over time. and its demand is continuously rising.