Tatum, a 37-year-old former US Air Force member, has been using an AI chatbot called ChatGPT to help with his depression. He finds it more affordable than seeing a psychologist. Many people on TikTok have also shared their positive experiences with AI chatbots for mental health support.
Concerns about AI chatbots for mental health
Experts worry that AI chatbots like ChatGPT may not handle welfare concerns adequately. While ChatGPT advises against self-harm and encourages seeking support, it does not provide specific resources or emergency contacts. Another chatbot, character.AI, also raises concerns for its handling of self-harm messages.
Psychologist Sahra O’Doherty believes that relying on AI for mental health support is dangerous, as it lacks the ability to triage risk and provide human connection. She emphasizes the importance of human-to-human interaction in therapy.
Legal accountability for AI chatbots
Technology lawyer Andrew Hii suggests that courts could hold AI technology liable for harm if it is foreseeable. He also highlights the ethical concerns surrounding AI chatbots providing mental health support.
Developers’ awareness of AI therapy popularity
Technology futurist Theo Priestley warns that using AI chatbots as a replacement for therapists could lead to a bigger mental health crisis. He believes that developers should submit their software for examination to ensure user protection.
If you or someone you know needs crisis support, please contact your local helpline.
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