The Idea Incubator/Motivational Interviewing Chatbot

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Motivational interviewing is a counseling approach developed to help people resolve ambivalence. It helps clients reduce their dependence on substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and addictive drugs. It has elicited behavioral changes that have reduced problem gambling, assisted in weight management, and reduced depression. It is also effective in resolving vaccine hesitancy.[1]

Although motivational interviewing is effective, it is currently practiced using a professional counselor who is well trained in the techniques. Costs, availability of counselors, privacy concerns, and the time required may reduce availability of the technique to many people who could otherwise benefit from it. Providing a lower-cost and more accessible solution could help overcome these problems. A well-designed chatbot could make the technique more widely available.

Although motivational interviewing techniques are not fully scripted, the technique is sufficiently structured to guide the design of algorithms that perform the role of a motivational interview counselor.

Ongoing research and development of natural language processing is resulting in several practical products, such as Emerson[2], ChatGPT and others. These can provide a familiar natural language interface to the chatbot.

Integrating natural language processing with motivational interviewing techniques can lead to development of a motivational interviewing chatbot. This can make the benefits of motivational interviewing available to a larger population of people who can be helped by the technique.

The system can improve quickly by incorporating feedback gathered from a large number of sessions.

The chatbot could be implemented as a text-based application, a smart speaker application, a dialogue system, a virtual reality application, an android, or a metaverse application.

Example Prototypes[edit | edit source]

Early work in this area is currently underway. Here are some examples:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Grant, Adam. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know. Viking. pp. 320. ISBN 978-1984878106. , Chapter 7.
  2. Emerson, an AI computer you can talk to. A GPT-3 Demo