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29 May 2024

‘Meet Your Digital Self’: new AI-powered project to support mental health

We've partnered with technology company Lenovo to help expand young people’s access to Shout. We’re working together as part of Lenovo’s new ‘Meet Your Digital Self’ project, which uses smart technology and AI to find ways to address the challenges young people face when living different lives in the real world versus online.

The project sees the online personas of two Gen Z individuals from the UK and Japan brought to life as AI-powered 3D avatars. The social experiment helped start heartfelt conversations between the participants, their family members and the avatars. The conversations might not have happened in real life, because the family members either didn’t know about their Gen Z participant’s online world, or didn’t understand and accept it - be it their career choices or gender identity.

From the UK, Oscar’s online persona, Spider, was brought to life. Spider was able to respond to real-time conversation, adjusting their tone, movement and facial expressions based on Oscar’s mannerisms, emotions and vocal signals. The aim was to enable a meaningful conversation between them and their grandmother, Nunu; helping to bridge the gap between online and offline worlds, allowing them to present their “true” self and reconnect with Nunu.

Watch the film:

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Lenovo’s campaign research found that, due to living different lives in the real world vs online, 75% of British Gen Zs are feeling a disconnect that’s fuelling loneliness and anxiety.

46% of Gen Z feel that they are vastly different online, compared to “real life”. 50% feel it’s easier to express themselves online and over a quarter feel they won’t be judged there, so find it easier to communicate how they feel.

If you are struggling with feelings of loneliness or anxiety, text ‘Shout’ to 85258 for support.