Can a robot with AI or your voice assistant help you feel less lonely?

While robots still aren’t prancing around most living rooms, beyond the occasional Roomba, we are increasingly forming some kind of bond with the AI’s in our smart speakers, phones and other devices – yes, Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri.

“Alexa’s personality has helped to create a place for her in the home of millions of customers – and we continue to find ways to evolve her personality to be more helpful and useful for them,” says Toni Reid, Amazon’s vice president for Alexa. “This includes responding to sensitive customer questions or interactions such as ‘Alexa, I’m lonely,’ ‘Alexa, I’m sad,’ ‘Alexa, I’m depressed,’ and so on. As we prepare to respond to these interactions, we are very aware that these are high-stakes answers and have worked closely with experts, such as crisis hotlines, to ensure Alexa’s response is helpful.”