Robot Therapists? Not So Fast, Says Talkspace C.E.O.

33m · July 22, 2021

Robot Therapists? Not So Fast, Says Talkspace C.E.O.

Talk therapy has seen a boom during the pandemic. And with mental health chat bots like Woebot on the market and text therapy platforms like Talkspace going public, the possibility of humans outsourcing our behavioral health to algorithmic healers is only growing — along with the ethical questions attached to it. So Kara Swisher turned to Oren Frank, a co-founder and the chief executive of Talkspace, to ask what the increasing technologization of therapy means for treatment efficacy and for privacy. In this conversation, Kara asks Frank whether health care apps like Talkspace, which collect patient data, are offering meaningful insights or are privacy sieves waiting to be hacked. They also talk about how to measure treatment efficacy and who is accountable — the platform or the provider — when something goes wrong. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.

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