New chatbot ‘Emily' helps you talk about death

A new chatbot is designed to help young people talk about death on Facebook.

Here’s a question: How often do you talk about death? Your wishes for the end of your life?

If you’re young or healthy it’s probably not very often. But a California tech company is trying to change that.

LifeFolder has launched a chatbot, named Emily, who is designed to help people have these difficult conversations.

“What we’re hoping to do is to actually get people talking to Emily about the kinds of things that are really important for your values and your wishes for end of life,” Haje Kamps, CEO of LifeFolder, told ABC10. “Stuff like, if you could never see your family again would life be worth living”

“And so they’re quite heavy and quite serious questions and we’re trying to guide the user through how to think about that,” he added.

The chatbot is used through Facebook messenger. The free service will also generate a set of paperwork at the end that the user can use to continue the conversation with a doctor or family member.

So why use a robot for this in the first place? Kamps says there’s a few good reasons.

“If you think about what the characteristics of a chatbot are…they’re incredible patient, so if you need to take a break, if you need to sit back a bit and say ‘woah I wasn’t ready for that question, I need to actually ruminate on this for a bit,’ you can have as much time as you like,” he explained. “And the other part is that a robot cannot judge you by definition. So it’s kind of a low risk conversation.”

Emily is currently up and running in five states, including California. 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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