Facebook Launches an AI Technology that Seeks to Reduce Cases of Suicide

Facebook recently announced the use of IA to detect worrisome posts emanating from its users: posts that suggest that a user is on the brink of committing suicide. The AI technology employed by Facebook scans posts from users and can locate suspicious posts which it highlights to human moderators. The technology will drastically reduce the time between when such posts are made and when Facebook makes an effort to help out the individuals involved. What’s more, the AI will also classify user reports based on urgency.
While the Facebook’s artificial intelligence system can identify posts from mentally ill people, are the human moderators ready to offer assistance to such people? TechCrunch reports that Facebook is dedicating a significant number of moderators to suicide prevention; this involves training them to deal with cases at whatever time of the day. Also, Facebook has some new partners in its mission to stem suicide on its platform. They include Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, etc. So far, Facebook has initiated over 100 “wellness check.” Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of product management emphasizes that the social media’s AI is tailored to reduce the time between when disturbed user posts a comment or uses Facebook Live and when first responders reach out to the user.
There is no doubt Facebook means well with its AI technology, but experts are raising questions regarding its use. Could the technology be misused? Well, Facebook does not have all the answers at this point, and Rosen explains that Facebook saw an opportunity to help and the social media giant embarked on it. Notably, users cannot opt out of the AI tech scanning their posts.
Rosen states that mental experts had an input in the development of Facebook’s AI. According to him, many ways of stopping suicide exist but connecting distressed people with their family and friends beats them all. Facebook is in a unique position to connect people at risk not only to their friends or family but also organizations that can assist them.

Facebook Dives into Curbing Suicide Cases through the Use of AI

Facebook has rolled out an Artificial Intelligence technology that aims at detecting suicidal posts. The AI will make a scan of all posts made by a particular individual, and if the feeds show pre-suicidal attempts, a message will be sent to the user’s friends or the local-first responders. The AI will decrease the time required to send help to the user by flagging worrisome posts and sending notifications to human moderators. The AI will scour through billions of data around the world besides the EU. The European Union has stringent measures against profiling people based on the sensitive information. As a result, the complexities of using such tech in the region is prohibited by law.

The AI is designed such that it prioritizes critical reports. It will also come up with the closest first-responder contact info. Additionally, Facebook is training more responders on methods of dealing with suicidal cases 24/7. They have partnered with several organizations that provide support services to victims. Mark Zuckerberg praised the AI saying that in the future, it will have the capability of identifying cases of bullying among many others. Victims get connected to health experts and organizations that can offer help.

How It Works

The AI will detect any Facebook post that expresses suicidal thoughts and flag it. When the information reaches the Facebook tech, they can proceed and highlight the suicidal part. The AI also prioritizes user reports over other content-policy violations. After all the info gets verified (usually very fast), the moderator proceeds to make a call to the responders closest to the user at risk. The AI is about saving minutes that may prove vital to avoiding a suicide. According to Guy Rosen, the VP of product management, the company’s goal is to have a response team that can offer support through a variety of languages.

Accelerators Continue Funding AI for Business

Artificial intelligence is most often seen as a consumer-driven innovation. AI-powered home assistants are available through numerous platforms and are designed to make life efficient. However as more businesses are struggling to make sense of their data, artificial intelligence is prepping to take on a new role in the office. From bots to analysis, AI for business is gaining accelerator funding.

 

Marketing, sales and customer service are the areas most likely to see a rise in AI powered bots. Already, customers interact with AI powered customer service, but start-ups are now developing virtual agents that can replace live-chat agents and others. These bots aren’t entirely innovative in the sense that they merely extend the kind of artificial intelligence consumers use at home into their daily interactions with other services. But start-ups, like Clair, test consumer products and ads without having to engage with consumers at all. This establishes Clair as a true AI tool for business. Scribe, another recently seeded startup, uses AI to identify new leads. The tech can potentially replace sales reps, or at least take over one area of their job.

 

Analysts predict that AI-powered technologies are likely to pivot in the upcoming months. The current use of bots, for instance, might be one stepping stone toward other technologies that will be used in other settings. So instead of customer service, marketing and sales bots, organizations might start applying these tools in numerous ways and settings. The most recent commercials from IBM come to mind. In the ads, Watson helps basketball coaches run predictive analytics on player performance; Watson assists IT professionals faced with security issues and finally, Watson shortens the time it takes to complete tedious tasks. Watson may speak like a bot, but it doesn’t think like one.

 

Considering AI’s potential in an enterprise setting, it is no surprise that accelerators are backing AI business technologies. Bots might seem small right now, but they aren’t the end of the line.

 

Artificial Intelligence: From Air Combat to Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder affects at least six million Americans each year, or roughly 4 percent of U.S. adults. Treatment typically involves some combination of mood-stabilizing or anti-psychotic medications and psychotherapy. However, recent discoveries in the field of artificial intelligence may prove revolutionary for individuals suffering from this condition.

 

Artificial intelligence, commonly known as “AI,” refers to intelligence exhibited by computerized machines. The idea revolves around a perceived need to create machines that can perform tasks previously limited to humans, such as those that involve decision-making. Essentially, the more technologically advanced we become, the more important it is to ensure that we can minimize human error.

 

One area where AI has shown great promise is in military applications. In air-to-air combat simulations, it has been known to outmaneuver even highly-skilled Air Force pilots. This same technology has now demonstrated a similar ability to predict how patients with bipolar disorder might respond to lithium treatment. Accurate predictions are difficult because of frequent fluctuations between periods of mania and depression. These fluctuations necessitate changes in treatment approaches, as they occur.

 

A new study conducted by the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine has shown that using AI can dramatically improve treatment effectiveness and efficiency. Various models have been employed by UC to predict how a particular patient might respond to lithium. The best of these models was known to be accurate 75 percent of the time. By comparison, the model employing AI was found to be accurate 100 percent of the time. Furthermore, it was 92 percent accurate in predicting when a patient’s manic symptoms were likely to decrease.

 

Artificial intelligence programs arrive at their conclusions based on generalizations, rather than specific definitions. They continuously refine their answers in a manner analogous to Darwin’s natural selection. Essentially, AI provides a way for doctors to use “fuzzy logic” to help them battle a notoriously difficult medical problem.

 

While it might seem as though air combat and medicine have little in common, they both involve an orderly process to arrive at the best possible decisions. While these new algorithms are clearly not sentient beings, as might be imagined in the world of science fiction, they are valuable tools that can be adapted to suit a large number of different applications.