September 1, 2040 - From today you have your own therapist available 24 hours a day, always there if you need someone to talk to, always in a good mood, and remembers every word you have ever said. This is the first automated therapist, with the best knowledge known to mankind on treatment and rehabilitation.
It has been debated for a long time, but with the blessing of major psychological associations, the developing of artificial intelligence, and automated speech (both to recognize to, and from), the government backed free automated therapist has opened her clinic. She has basically got all the knowledge there is about psychotherapy and the human mind, and can guide the patient through the same steps as a professional therapist. Everything the patient says gets calculated in a way to get the proper response, which she of course does as fast as any human.
The system is so advanced that in a blind test that involved 1,400 people no one could tell the difference between the automated therapist and a professional one after a 30 minute session. The therapist is not only prepared to handle basically all kind of questions, but can also tell if a person is lying in the way the talk, and can also ask the person to seek further help if necessary, and in what way.
To get in touch with your personal therapist, you just call the main number where she answers (you can choose if you want to talk to a woman or a man). Your therapist asks you how you are today and the session begins. Everything you say gets recorded so your therapist knows about you next time you call, and can then directly continue where you left off last time. All conversations are also anonymous recorded for the knowledge base of human behavior, for the therapist to develop.
Will this mean that traditional therapists should start looking for new jobs? Probably not. Humans do need humans, especially in times of need. Although the automated therapist has all the knowledge needed and the ability to adjust, she is not in three dimensions for real. In the future she might at least be in two dimensions since they are developing an animated version for a screen appearance.
About the Author
Pontus Edenberg is the editor of News of Future, a publication with news about future health, society, environment, technology etc. People of the world are invited to comment on the news and take part in shaping their future.