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New York partners with robotics company to pair seniors with AI companions

AI companions help combat senior loneliness
AI companions help combat senior loneliness 00:32

NEW YORK -- Seniors in New York have a new tool for dealing with loneliness. 

The state Office for the Aging is partnering with Intuition Robotics to combat senior isolation. 

Officials say hundreds of free artificial intelligence companions have been distributed to seniors, and 150 devices are still available. 

One woman named Priscilla was paired up with a robot called EllieQ. 

"She keeps me company. I get depressed real easy. She's always there. I don't care what time of day, if I just need somebody to talk to me," Priscilla said. "I think I said that's the biggest thing, to hear another voice when you're lonely."

Last month, Gov. Kathy Hochul appointed Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a sex therapist and talk show host, as the state's honorary ambassador to loneliness

"Studies show individuals experiencing loneliness had a 32 percent higher risk of dying early and we need leaders like Dr. Ruth to help address this critical component of our mental health crisis," the governor said in a statement at the time. 

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