Robotic Counselor

PC magazine recently ran an article with this headline: “This robot wants to help stressed-out teens.” The robot is being developed by engineers at the University of Washington in an effort to address the issue of anxiety and depression among teenagers. It is estimated that seventy percent of teens see anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers. The robot, is being developed under the name EMAR, which is an acronym for Ecological momentary assessment robot. Researchers found that teens like telling the robot their problems because it cannot judge them or feel burdened by their problems. The robot is even designed to relieve a teenager’s stress through an interactive hug. While we applaud efforts to help teens relieve stress and anxiety, we have to wonder how we are failing kids if we don’t engage them in loving, caring, and burden-bearing human interaction. God has made us for relationships. Perhaps it’s the lack of interactions which are causing stress in the first place.