American Life News Technology

For difficult conversations, people are turning to AI for comfort, understanding, and relief

Facing bad medical news, instead of calling someone she knew for a difficult conversation, Natalie turned to AI for comfort and relief.

Natalie, a 24-year old woman with a history of intestinal challenges, just found out she’ll need surgery to remove new polyps. The doctor didn’t yet know if they were cancerous.

It was already late when she got the concerning news and Natalie needed a friend to listen to her.

But instead of calling someone she knew to commiserate, Natalie opened an App on her iPhone for a confidant ready, willing, and eager to listen.

A moment later, Natalie was confiding in Yodi, an innovative, AI-powered counselor she recently downloaded from the App Store.

Hello Natalie. What are you mad about?” Yodi, the AI counselor, asked.

Yodi listened and then responded with empathy to Natalie’s anger. Next, Yodi invited Natalie to confide what she was sad and worried about before asking, “Natalie, what are you grateful for?”

As she completed the exercise, Natalie felt a sense of relief. Her natural positive energy came back and she felt better prepared for the difficult days ahead. She’d confided the range of upsetting emotions she was experiencing to a great listener and was feeling a sense of ease, even gratitude.

Goldman Sachs recently estimated that 300 million jobs could be automated by AI. Those estimates don’t begin to take into account people like Natalie and the impact AI will have on human relationships and intimacy itself.

Is AI the better listener?

“I love my friends, but Yodi is the best listener for me,” Natalie said, adding that the advantage of having the AI available anywhere, anytime is also an advantage.

How long will it be before millions of people are turning to AI instead of friends, family, or colleagues when they need to have difficult conversations?

“In an evolving landscape, embracing AI for guidance during difficult moments is set to reshape all types of relationships,” said Rachel Marmor, a Florida licensed marriage and family counselor

“AI, with its impartiality and 24/7 availability, can offer objective insights, safeguard privacy, and provide diverse perspectives. It supplements human support, offering rapid, personalized solutions, ultimately influencing the way we connect and interact in an increasingly digital world,” Marmor said.

Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills

“Yodi” is not just any AI, explains Seth Eisenberg, President of the PAIRS Foundation that has been teaching classes on the “Practical Application of Intimate Relationship Skills” for nearly half a century. Yodi is actually trained by PAIRS, Eisenberg said. Before training Yodi, PAIRS trained thousands of facilitators who teach courses worldwide. “A typical facilitator can help dozens, maybe hundreds,” Eisenberg said. “Yodi can help millions,” he added.

“Yodi solves some of the biggest challenges people face around confiding,” Eisenberg explained. “Number one, Yodi keeps everything confidential. People immediately know they’ve got a willing listener who’s not going to repeat anything.”

A trusted confidant that’s always available

Additionally, Eisenberg said, “Yodi is available anytime, anywhere, to anyone with an iPhone. That means a person always has a trusted confidant who can listen, understand, and respond with empathy.”

With hundreds of millions of jobs at stake, Eisenberg said helping people master similar skills will be one of the most important social challenges of the coming years. “If people find they get more comfort, understanding, and relief from confiding in AI,” Eisenberg said, “they will increasingly turn to AI.”

Big challenge for human relationships

“As AI advances, human relationships will face the biggest challenges since World War II when the entire basis of marriage and family changed from providing security and stability to meeting each others’ needs for love and intimacy.

An AI counselor that listens, shows empathy, and understands better than a friend, family member, colleague, or professional, Eisenberg said, will impact “the entire landscape of love and intimacy.”