Artificial Intelligence Is Learning to Predict and Prevent Suicide

We often consider the way tech companies harvest and store our data as pure evil, done to maximise their profit and minimise our social liberties and freedoms. But what if that data could prevent someone from committing suicide? 

Facebook, amongst other tech firms, is using sophisticated machine learning to build technologies that predict a person's chance of suicide, based upon their browsing and social history. Imagine if that predictive method was expanded to include every piece of data gleaned from someone's communication via their mobile phone? The chance of prevention would increase even further. 

It's a controversial subject but studies have shown that the vast majority of suicides are, firstly, done with regret and, secondly, would have been prevented if the person didn't feel so alone. The invention of a trigger - AI built - that gets attention to that person before they do the unthinkable can only be a good thing. In this article on WIRED, Megan Molteni explains how they're doing it.

Edward Playfair