Tracking Suicide Risks On Social Media Using AI: Canada Begins Pilot Program To Predict Online Behaviour

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The Government of Canada is piloting a program to using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to predict suicidal behaviour on social media and use it to direct its mental health services to the right people, reports Engadget.

The project – being handled with AI firm Advanced Symbolics – will try to predict which part of Canada will witness a spike in suicidal thoughts, behaviour, threats, and attempts among more. The $25,000 project will begin trials by January end and will conclude in June this year. If it is extended further beyond the trial period, the cost would go up to $400,000.

Canada’s initiative follows that of social media giant Facebook’s AI-based suicide prevention tools which were rolled out in November 2017. The system was designed to interpret comments that might show signs of suicidal behaviour and also allow others to report such activities on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram.

Advanced Symbolics will begin by analysing posts from 160,000 social media accounts and predict any trends in the wrong direction. Canada witnesses an average of 10.4 suicides per 100,000 people.