Artificial intelligence may offer companionship to the lonely

New Delhi, May 27 (IANS): Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology may be key to fighting loneliness among humans, which is known to seriously impair health, according to a robotics expert.

Tony Prescott, from the University of Sheffield, UK, argues in his new book The Psychology of Artificial Intelligence that "relationships with AIs can support people" with forms of social interaction.

When people feel lonely, they tend to become increasingly disconnected as their confidence plummets. AI may help "break the cycle" and give them a way to practise and improve their social skills, said Tony, a Professor of cognitive robotics.

While many people "describe their lives as lonely, there may be value in having AI companionship as a form of reciprocal social interaction that is stimulating and personalised," Tony said.

An "AI companionship could help break this cycle by scaffolding feelings of self-worth and helping maintain or improve social skills. If so, relationships with AIs could support people to find companionship with both human and artificial others," he added.

In the book, the Professor explores the nature of the human mind and its cognitive processes and compares and contrasts this with the way AI is developing.

He noted that the partnership of psychology and AI "can unlock further insights into both natural and artificial intelligence."


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