The burden of disease of mental illness has doubled in the past decade in every country in the world. Depression is the leading cause of disability globally, and there are not enough clinicians to meet the demand. Woebot was developed to address the growing crisis of mental health. A randomized controlled trial published in June 2017 demonstrated that the fully automated conversational agent could significantly reduce symptoms of depression among adults. This talk discusses how Woebot develops a therapeutic alliance with his users, and the pragmatic product development behind building a conversational agent with empathic and clinical skill.
Alison Darcy, PhD, is the CEO and Founder of Woebot Labs Inc. a company that aims to make the best psychological tools radically accessible for everyone. She created Woebot, a friendly AI-powered chatbot that delivers cognitive behavior therapy at scale. A clinical research psychologist, Alison was Faculty in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford School of Medicine for a decade where she developed digital health interventions for young people. With both a technical and scientific background, Alison works at the intersection of mental health and technology.