Are chatbots useful for serious mental illnesses?

Chatbots or conversational agents are here defined as digital tools existing either as hardware (such as an Amazon Echo running the Alexa digital assistant software) or software (such as Google Assistant running on Android devices, or Siri running on Apple devices) that use machine learning and artificial intelligence methods to mimic human-like behaviors and offer evolving dialogue able to participate in conversation. The potential of chatbots to help patients with serious mental illnesses is high as they could one day offer adjudicative therapy or even help teach new skills. But today the actual clinical evidence for chatbots for serious mental illness remains low because little research has been done.

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