The free mental health service Koko experimented with using an AI chatbot to help respond to people seeking support. The test has drawn criticism as being unethical and lacking transparency

Technology



10 January 2023

Mental health apps offer support through their platforms

Emanuel M. Schwermer

A mental health service that allows people to receive encouraging words of support and advice from others tested AI-generated responses without first notifying the recipients.

Rob Morris, founder of the free mental health service Koko, outlined in a series of Twitter posts how the firm tested using a chatbot to help provide mental health support to about 4000 people. The chatbots were powered by GPT-3, a publicly available AI built by San Francisco-based company OpenAI.

The test enabled users of Koko’s online peer …

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