In Autumn 2018, we partnered with mens grooming brand, Harry’s, to launch the UKs first “listening bot” specifically designed to learn about men’s mental wellbeing. We sent the Bot on a mission to investigate the private lives of thousands of British men, and the results were strikingly honest.
Using the concept of “life support for men,” 73% of participants stated they were attracted to the concept of talking to a “chat bot” because they would not feel judged or ashamed about admitting to weakness.
“Rather than patronisingly insist men ‘talk more’, then blame them when they don’t, the bot has shown that perhaps it’s time to change how – and where – we listen to men. Rather than expect men to self-present at their GPs and talk face to face, perhaps we need to take the conversation to them, via technology we know they are already comfortable with.”
While many men who spoke with the bot had never spoken to a person about their issues because they found it too invasive, when they spoke with the bot they had plenty to say.
In fact, more than 2,000 men between the ages of 18 and 88 came forward and responded, safe in the knowledge they weren’t being judged, and that they were contributing to something potentially profound. Participants included builders, designers, company directors, doctors, teachers and barristers. Their replies were in parts heartfelt, sad, angry and bewildered.
From the wider data collected, indications are that we’ll be able to start using Ai to identify patterns in the responses and map them back to research related to self-harming behaviour.
The opportunities could be staggering.
The anonymous replies are to be passed on to Jackie Doyle-Price, the newly appointed minister for suicide prevention in the U.K.