Artificial Intelligence: Helping the Lonely


Steven Kaszab , Bradford, Ontario

Covid -19’s influence upon us all has been at times horrific. We have been called upon to do one thing that North Americans are not truly familiar with, and that is to isolate, separate ourselves from our family, friends and community. Stay apart, and be well. Well with these medical suggestions made, a few symptoms of community health have risen. Depression, loneliness and separation anxiety have been experienced by many thousands of us. These symptoms can actually be long lasting conditions, even when Covid-19 has left us, staying with our victimized citizens. 

What to do? Well there are the traditional methods to assist those feeling lonely, forgotten, unattached to the rest of us. Our scientists have found a use for  A.I.(Artificial Intelligence).
Once viewed as toys for the well off, robots have become tools of health and safety. Robots within a seniors room or home can identify and interpret sounds and cues that maybe communicated to listening/collection centers within a senior living home or a private home telling a trained professional a senior or youth is in peril, in need of attention and assistance. Further skills can identify a individuals psychological presence, that is to say a individual is too noisy, too silent, not moving about. You may think of the commercial where someone falls down and calls out “I have fallen and cannot get up”. These robots can be far greater abilities than that. Through someone’s speech patterns , the robot could evaluate the subjects mind set, emotions and location. 
Research has been going on in British Columbia studying the many uses of A.I. within senior living communities. Smart Algorithm’s are being developed to detect audio-visual cues, recognize emotion’s, and respond to programmed symptom’s of anxiety and depression. These robots will have the ability to communicate with their subject’s since they will have programmed coping mechanisms. 
The World Health Organization(W.H.O.) has identified that loneliness is a significant predictor of depression and anxiety in both older and younger adults, but this loneliness is significantly higher among the elderly.  Youth aged 15-24 are more likely than the general population to report mental health due to COVID-19.
Our governmental agencies, industry, Labor and scientific Organizations need to partner together to create a movement of ultimate opportunity. Assist our citizens, create employment opportunities in high tech, move labor towards these high tech positions and fully fund a domestic scientific lead industry here in North America.

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