'Chat bot changed my life'

image source, Yasmin Shaheen Zafar

image caption, Yasmin Shaheen Zafar uses an AI chatbot to help with her writing.

  • the author, Elena Schutz
  • the role, Business reporter
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While AI chatbots are probably just an interesting novelty for many of us, for some they are proving to be transformative.

Yasmin Shaheen Zafar, from North Yorkshire, has dyslexia, dyspraxia, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

As a result of these conditions, she would struggle with writing assignments. Then AI came into his life.

“It was a few years ago that I was introduced to it. [popular AI chatbot] Jasper, and it changed my life,” says Ms Shaheen Zafar, a certified psychotherapist. “It's become my friend.”

She uses Jasper to help clean up both the structure and spelling of her written work, which now includes a recently published self-help book for people with neurodiversity.

The word is an umbrella term for conditions and disorders including dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, Tourette's, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

London-based tech entrepreneur Alex Sargent says using AI helps with his OCD.

He uses AI-powered transcription app Otter.ai to record and organize his meetings.

Mr. Sargent explains that while his extreme attention to detail and ritual has been a burden in the past, he can “feel comfortable delegating things. And by and large I've been doing a lot with AI lately. I am

According to Hayley Brackley, a neurodiversity expert coach and trainer, the main reason people with psychological or psychiatric conditions may be drawn to AI tools isn't just convenience.

“I think one of the big things is that there's no shame or malice in asking ChatGPT, or any other AI tool, to do something.”

For example, she points out that there is an assumption that most people should know how to spell, which is especially difficult for someone with dyslexia.

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Ms Brackley, who herself suffers from dyslexia, ADHD and autism, says AI chatbots allow her to “outsource my challenge without having to explain as much. [to another human]”

She adds: “The thing is, if you have crutches to help you walk and you have difficulty walking, why wouldn't you use crutches? And so, if AI gives you a mechanism in which to simplify your working world, there are many arguments to say 'let's use it'.

Ms. Brickley says that in her work with companies and their neurodiverse employees, some firms are more open to introducing assistive AI tools than others.

Yet she adds that if AI is available to the entire workforce, everyone benefits. “What happens is that we keep something for the minority, but then it helps the majority without hurting anyone.”

image source, Alex Sargent

image caption, Alex Sargent uses an app to transcribe what is said in meetings.

Although many tools are now being used by the neurodiverse community that are mainstream AI products, some offerings are specifically designed for this, such as the website and app called Goblin Tools.

Powered by ChatGPT, users can do everything from creating to-do lists, making their written sentences more formal, to checking whether they're misreading someone's email tone, to how long it will take. It can do everything from predicting it, and even getting cooking tips. How to turn a set of ingredients into a meal.

Goblin Tools was created by Belgian software engineer Bram de Beiser, who says it's an ode to his neurodivergent friends.

“My friends have some difficulties and needs, so I thought maybe I could make something that would – if not completely help them – at least alleviate some of that struggle.”

Mr. D. Buyer says that his website now receives 500,000 users per month. It is free to use, while you have to pay to download the app versions.

image caption, The InnerVoice app aims to help children with autism.

AI chatbots have also been created specifically for children with neurodiversity, such as InnerVoice, an app created by Californian tech firm iTherapy.

For children with autism, parents can help their son or daughter evoke an object or person from the child's life, such as a favorite toy or pet. It then becomes a talking avatar on the phone or computer screen.

Matthew Gogemos, co-founder of iTherapy, says that autistic children are often able to engage more with computers than with the so-called real world around them. He adds that he sees AI being used only to help the neurodivergent.

“I think AI can give neurodivergent people some extra tools, and help them communicate with less effort if needed,” he says.

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