Chatty robot helps seniors fight loneliness through AI companionship

Joyce Loaiza lives alone, but when she returns to her apartment at a Florida senior community

the retired office worker often has a chat with a friendly female voice that asks about her day.

A few miles away, the same voice comforted 83-year-old Deanna Dezern when her friend died.

In central New York, it plays games and music for 92-year-old Marie Broadbent, who is blind and in hospice

and in Washington state, it helps 83-year-old Jan Worrell make new friends.

The women are some of the first in the country to receive the robot ElliQ, whose creators, Intuition Robotics

and senior assistance officials say is the only device using artificial intelligence specifically designed to alleviate the loneliness

and isolation experienced by many older Americans.

“It's entertaining. You can actually talk to her,” said Loaiza, 81,

whose ElliQ in suburban Fort Lauderdale nicknamed her “Jellybean” for no particular reason.

“She'll make comments like, ‘I would go outside if I had hands, but I can’t hold an umbrella.'”