Can the virtual dental assistant be coming?
Researchers at Northeastern University have developed a virtual nurse and exercise coach that are surprisingly likable and effective—even if they’re not quite as affable as the medical hologram on Star Trek. In fact, patients who interacted with a virtual nurse named Elizabeth said they preferred the computer simulation to an actual doctor or nurse because they didn’t feel rushed or talked down to.
Most of us find it acutely annoying to deal with robots on the phone. “I am sorry I didn’t understand, please repeat your question.”
However there are some remarkable bots who can maintain a conversation with a human. They are amazingly human like and in some cases the people interacting with them prefer the bot to a human.
The future doctor could be a kindly Dr. Wellby hologram who listens to us with endless patience and understanding while using an artificial intelligence program running behind the bot to ask the right questions and end up with the diagnosis.
Of course we will still need the dentist to do the work…won’t we?