Canada will look for suicidal tendencies in social networks through artificial intelligence
The Government of Canada has partnered with a company specialized in artificial intelligence, Advanced Symbolics, to analyze messages from 160,000 social media profiles looking for suicidal tendencies. The objective of the Canadian administration is to predict increases in the risk of suicide in the different territories and provinces of the country.
In a document published on the website of the government department responsible for public works, it is indicated that thanks to these analyzes the authorities will be able to define suicidal behavior in social networks and will be used “to carry out market studies on the general population of Canada” .
The contract will be formalized in one month and the pilot project will last for three. After this period, the Government “will determine whether future work will be useful for the continued surveillance of suicide . ” According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, suicide is the second leading cause of death for Canadians.
Artificial intelligences against suicide
The World Health Organization figures about 800,000 suicides that end in death globally. They indicate that suicide can occur at any age, but in 2015 it was the second leading cause of death in the age group of 15 to 29 years. In Spain, for example, the number of suicides doubled that of those killed by traffic accidents in 2014.
For these reasons and others, the WHO recognizes that suicide is a public health priority and both organizations and governments focus on avoiding them using, among other methods, technology .
A little over a month ago, Facebook announced the activation of artificial intelligence on its platform that aims to save lives by identifying messages of potential suicide victims, both proactively and through reports. It was tested in the United States and is in operation worldwide except in the European Union, where privacy laws prevent the use of sensitive personal information.
A spokesman for the Public Health Agency of Canada told CBC that “to help prevent suicide, develop effective prevention programs and recognize ways to intervene earlier , we must first understand the various patterns and characteristics of behaviors related to suicide” . “PHAC is exploring ways to test a new approach to help identify patterns, based on online data, associated with users who discuss behaviors related to suicide,” he added.