The artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is here and is now integrating its way into the world of psychiatry. But, while robots are pretty good at number crunching and scouring the internet for fake news, they are some things they struggle with, such as walking up a flight of stairs.
There’s a great deal of time and money that goes into the making of every AI and robot, trying to make them act as humanly as possible and while that might work on an intellectual level, it will never happen on a physical one. This is because AI today plays to its strength and only has a skillset so big. So, while it may be extremely good at the tasks it can do, it will be limited to the range of things it can do.
One area of expertise that AI has come to excel in over the past few years is in psychiatry. “What is really interesting is the way that apps will be able to prompt behaviour and therefore change physiology, emotion and thought. The combination of homeostasis and entropy means that human behavior sinks towards ease. Apps can nudge us long before problems evolve and even coach us toward excellence,” said Dr. Sven Hansen, founder of The Resilience Institute.
Earlier this year, Colin Walsh, a professional data scientists at the Vanderbilt University Medical Centre, published his work on a new AI algorithm that uses hospital records and local registers to predict if someone will attempt suicide within the next few months. Although it’s still early days, the app is already 90% accurate and could be a very helpful tool for doctors and psychiatry professionals to use when dealing with suicidal patients.
Facebook recently delved into the world of psychiatry recently when it tested an algorithm on the social media platform that scrolled through posts and status updates to look for warning signs of self-harming. Anything suspect found, was reported back to family members for them to take action before something bad happened. The company also has an AI chatbot called Woebot that lives inside Facebook Messenger. It tracks users moods by having conversations or playing games with them. It can also function as a therapist, and can make assessments on your psychological condition as well as recommend treatments.
AI is being used more and more in the world of psychiatry, and could become an essential part of treatment for those suffering with psychological conditions. Many people find it easier to talk to a machine then a human as is less chance they will be judged. But how long it will take for the majority to catch on and put their faith in AI is the million dollar question.