In early 2020, a deadly virus spread throughout the World raising the death toll and causing fear in the minds of people. The absence of a vaccine forced the government to impose lockdowns around the world to stop spreading the virus. However, the social distancing and isolation made a huge bar between the basic human instinct of connecting to others. Consequently, a social challenge of loneliness was observed around the world.
Global Impact of Loneliness
Loneliness is a social pain that can cause behavioural changes. Many cases of loneliness and depression have evolved during the lockdown. The need to interact has emerged more for the well-being of a person and that can be achieved by sharing, communicating, and socializing with other people.
There have been various social support groups, and call centres, for the people, the elderly, and the ones affected to communicate and resolve the issue. In recent times, experts are focusing on technology-based communication partners like robots for interactions, to provide customer service operations and frontline exchanges.
Role of Social Robots in Supporting Loneliness
During the lockdown, social robots will help to reach out to people in need and provide support. In the human-robot interaction and human-computer interaction, there had been existing evidence of social support, but the contribution to their wellness is still vague. There are various Artificial Intelligence incorporated applications and gadgets that help to satisfy the basic need of people to connect to others. Today, the market is turning to AI-operated robots that people can resort to as friends.
Why AI Robots are the need of the hour?
With the growing human need, there is also increasing business opportunities for entrepreneurs. According to experts, one in three adults in the United States suffers from chronic loneliness above the age of forty-five. Similarly, in Britain studies report more than nine million people to suffer from loneliness. After the age of seventy-five, three in ten people suffer from loneliness that grows out of control.
After understanding the serious consequence of loneliness, Britain introduced a loneliness minister to manage the situation as it took a million-dollar cost to the economy of the United Kingdom. The results of loneliness can be mild to fatal. It leads to loss of productivity, depression, premature death, and a huge cost to health. Various startup companies are developing AI-based home companion robots. Although the need for these products is still questioned, there is a demand for such gadgets that are growing strong with the elderly population.
According to a worldwide medical research firm, around 16% of the population will be above sixty-five years of age by 2050. Many people assumed that technology plays a huge role in depression, however, today it is a solution as well. Various companies have started developing such AI-enhanced gadgets to offer medicine reminders, and care for their owners.
AI is in demand in the market for various industries. Starting from online games to helping like-minded people match on algorithms. It is important to acknowledge AI as a tool for socializing. With the current indication of AI-based gadgets for social interactions to support people in loneliness, it is a debate among experts and health professionals on whether to deploy it other than actual human emotions.