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Sep 07 2017 - 08:00 PM
AI Robot Takes the Burden Out of End-of-Life Conversations

A Californian startup has designed a chatbot for tech-savvy 25–45 year olds who are statistically more likely to discuss end-of-life decisions with a conversational robot than a human.

LifeFolder’s Emily (a friendly, approachable computer with impressive patience) talks users through three crucially important documents: an Advance Care Directive, an Organ Donation Statement, and Health Proxies, or people who act for you if the time comes. Health proxies can alleviate the burden of one-on-one conversations between doctors and loved ones under such distressing circumstances. At the end of the conversation, users are equipped with a legally-binding document that describes the choices they have made.

While most people would prefer to die at home, 78% of Americans don’t have a plan in place that directly expresses their end-of-life wishes. To help overcome barriers to end-of-life planning, LifeFolder also offers an easy to navigate online platform containing information, a blog and FAQs that cover everything from state laws, talking to loved ones, thinking about death when you are healthy, and deleting your LifeFolder if you change your mind. There’s even a video that demonstrates a live conversation with Emily. What do you think about this approach to making end-of-life decisions? Share your thoughts in the ongoing discussion on Vialogues.

Excerpts from the discussion

@00:59 @Ryan Allen:What age groups does this app target? Perhaps for young adults starting to move out on their own?

@00:60 @Debra Lee:The entrepreneurs who created Emily targeted her at 25-45 year olds who are statistically more likely to talk about end-of-life decisions with a conversational robot than a human.

@02:01 @Thomas Anderson:I wonder how estate planning attorneys might use this app.

@02:05 @Debra Lee:Attorneys who specialize in end-of-life planning have responded with caution; they're wary of a bot providing such critical advice. But they agree it is a "legitimate" idea.

Posted in: New Learning TimesVialogues|By: Debra Lee|556 Reads