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Bethanie Autumn Drake-Maples

My research focuses on how billions of people are using conversational agents (predominantly backed by large language models) for their informal learning and mental health. Depression and suicide are risks for students globally, never more so than during and following the Covid-19 pandemic (World Health Organization, 2022). The use of technology in mental health care has become an important tool to reach individuals who may not have access to traditional treatment or may be hesitant to seek help (Holt-Lunstad et al., 2015). My prior research showed us that Intelligent Social Agent users were gaining positive cognitive and therapeutic through use (Maples, Pea, Markowitz, 2022). Our 2022 study of Replika student users revealed that a some users credit the ISA with halting their suicidal attempts. ISAs like Replika, Character AI, Pi and XiaoIce are used by billions, making it a high-impact space for delivering therapeutic solutions to students of all ages.