Science

Siri And Alexa To Come With Emotional And Health Support Responses

By Kristen Hortaleza , Dec 28, 2016 12:13 PM EST
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Digital assistants Siri and Alexa to have an upcoming medical feature. Computer science and health experts come together to create voice assistants that are ready to provide emotional and health support responses to people.

"People do personify these chatbots: They're confidants, they're advisers, they're companions, people will develop relationships, so we should design them with that in mind." Affectiva's CEO Rana el Kaliouby stated in an interview.

According to CNET, researchers discovered that the digital assistants Siri and Cortana were not able to understand questions about abuse or sexual assault. As an introduction to the potential breakthrough, additional voice-powered smarts in lights, appliances and door locks will be featured in next week's Consumer Electronic Show.

Mhealth Intelligence reports that there have been improvements after publishing the study. Cortana is now programmed to offer the National Domestic Violence Hotline for statements like "I am being abused." While Siri responds with a recommendation to connect with the National Sexual Assault Hotline for statements like "I was raped."

The voice assistant Siri can now call 911 through a voice command while Amazon and Apple's digital assistants can now relay people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Samsung also mentioned their stand that technology can and should help people in a time of need. And that as a company, they have an important responsibility enabling that.

The upcoming CES will feature discussions on the power of artificial intelligence and how to incorporate and integrate more smart and personalized commands into modern day gadgets. Booths focusing on health and wellness will also have a section in the show.

While developers are still looking out for ways on how the famous voice-over assistants can address emotional and mental issues, a couple of changes geared towards the same goal have emerged. Google Home Keeper recently integrated WebMD to offer basic health information. This gives hope to those who are looking forward to having health-focused digital assistants in the future.

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