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Little Find

Is there anyone there?

Households in the United States and Europe are getting smaller, and the same is true in Asia, even though the extended family is very important there. Conversely, the number of single-person households is on the rise. Do you feel lonely? What if AI could fix things?

Lots of people mitigate their feelings of loneliness by adopting a pet. But how about avoiding getting hair all over the sofa and going straight to acquiring a companion robot? Sales of the Japanese robot Lovot – originally designed for the elderly – jumped 70% in 2020. It was a source of comfort and reassurance for people who were housebound. 
But how do you grow attached to Lovot? The robot’s body temperature is similar to our own (which makes you want to hug it), and it is kitted out with emotional intelligence tools: it recognizes you, comes to you, stays by your side, reads your emotions and encourages you to interact with it. It uses its deep learning module to adapt its behavior to your own. 
The less tactile among you will be satisfied with interacting with an empathetic chatbot: Xiaoice is used by 660 million (mainly Chinese) users who like chatting with the AI system as much as – if not more than – they do with human beings: conversations with Xiaoice are longer than “normal” conversations! In other words, it seems better at listening than humans… 
Still not sure? You can go and test the little robot in a Japanese “Lovot café”! 


To go further

The lonely economy

(McKinsey Quarterly, October 27, 2021).

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Florence Meyer
Published by Florence Meyer
Executive coach, change management expert, and author. Constantly on the lookout for the latest management and leadership trends.