Developing a compassionate AI-enabled chatbot to motivate smokers to quit

Dr. Osnat Melamed, MD, MSc

Award: 2021 Compassion and Technology Fellow

  • Chatbot
  • Empathy
  • Smoking Cessation

Physician, Clinician Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Over 4 million Canadians smoke cigarettes, which shortens lifespan by 10 years however, most struggle to quit. Chatbots are Artificial Intelligence (AI) programs that interact with human users through a text-message conversation. Chatbot interventions could coach and support individuals in making a change to their smoking behaviour, similar to the way a human smoking cessation coach would. The advantages of chatbots are that they are not costly, can be easily accessed through the internet and are available at any given time. Osnat’s project will bring together experts in smoking cessation, computer engineering, human-machine interactions, and patient-partners to develop a smoking cessation chatbot that will empower smokers to quit by using non-judgmental, collaborative, and empathic text-messaging conversations.