to addiction treatment
Research explores therapeutic value of virtual coaches and social robots
WRITTEN BY DOUG HORNERPHOTOGRAPHED BY DAVID ROSSITER
Brad Morrison has spent more than 40of his 59 years in the thrall of addiction.
He knows intimately what it feels like tobe on the verge of relapse. The intensecraving. An overpowering desire toescape.
“I only have a couple of seconds—I
either don’t or I do,“ Morrison says,
describing that fragile instant when a
person resists or returns to substance
Eva Hudlicka is a psychotherapist
from Amherst, Massachusetts with a
doctorate in computer science. In 2017,
she became a Fulbright Canada-Palix
Foundation Distinguished Visiting
Research Chair and is working in Alberta
to create a new tool for people with
addictions. It could one day become a
download from an app store.
Hudlicka is an expert in artificial
intelligence and affective computing, a
type of technology that can recognize
and display emotions. She says
innovations such as virtual coaches,
social robots and virtual reality have
big therapeutic potential. The reason
Eva Hudlicka is a Fulbright Canada-Palix Foundation Distinguished Visiting Research Chair working at the University of Lethbridgeto create a new online tool for people trying to break their addictions. It could one day become a download from an app store.