Artificial Intelligence (AI) is today’s most discussed topic. At face value, artificial intelligence, to the uninitiated, may sound frightening. In reality artificial intelligence has benefits that outweigh fears.
The Basics of Artificial Intelligence
The basics of understanding artificial intelligence is that it emanates from machines, mainly computers rather than humans. Clearly, the greatest fear of mankind today is that the human brain will be totally replaced by machines.
To clear away misconceptions about artificial intelligence, it is important to note that computer systems that are already programmed to perform tasks that would usually require human intelligence. For example, in many hospital pharmacies today, a computerized robot delivers prescription drugs to patients that a nurse or hospital orderly might have performed in the past.
Computer devices such as cell phones are used to translate language, recognize user speech or make decisions, such as global positioning systems (GPS) that provide location and direction or vacuum cleaning systems that visually detect a home’s interior environment. All of these tasks are part of computer programming that doesn’t require human intelligence.
Will Artificial Intelligence Help Our Mental Health
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a major proponent of advancing mental health initiatives. The U.S. National Institutes of Health reported on the increase in mental health and reasons for the “partially justified” claim of these increases.
Most mental health professionals globally find mental illness causes are unknown, but fall into several categories:
The Use of Artificial Intelligence to Advance Mental Health
The link between the use of artificial intelligence provided by programmed computer systems and mental health was inevitable. Artificial intelligence provides algorithms that detect changes in the human brain such as those used in MRIs, CAT scans and EEGs (Electroencephalograms).
Advancements and the reliance on artificial intelligence may help our mental health by detecting depression and other symptoms of mental illness and prevent further brain damage.
Artificial Intelligence Developments
It should be noted at the present time artificial intelligence is still under development in the mental health field.
The reason artificial intelligence remains somewhat undeveloped is the inability to create algorithms that can think like humans under all human circumstances and experiences.
One example of a highly developed artificial intelligence is the IBM “Watson computer,” created specifically to be a contestant on the TV program “Jeopardy.” When pitted against two TV human contestants, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, Watson with all of its algorithms and ability to answer questions put to it, showed it to be imperfect, albeit far advanced than expected. The outcome of the use of Watson encouraged researchers to consider uses in the medical and mental health fields.
As Edward Feigenbaum, a Stanford University computer science pioneer in the field of computer technology stated upon reviewing Watson’s performance, “Cast your mind back 20 years and who would have thought this was possible?”
The Future of Artificial Intelligence in the Mental Health Field
Advancements in medicine evolve as newer technology emerges. This is also true in the mental health field. It’s easy to imagine why creating algorithms to aid in the diagnosis of mental illness will lead to better mental health.
Just as cardiologists can detect arrhythmia, “with 97 percent accuracy” on patients wearing Apple Watches with an AI-based software application, the future of AI in the mental health field may consist of detection of mood swings via wrist bands installed with detection algorithms that may prevent mentally unstable individuals from hurting themselves or others.
Perhaps, the precursor to the idea of using computer aided artificial intelligence to detect changes in mental states of mind may have been inspired by those 1970s “mood rings.”
These rings didn’t really detect moods or, for that matter, emotions. However, color changes in the stones in these rings were subject to sensitivity to human body temperature.
Just as human body temperatures tend to drop at the onset of sleep and during periods of relaxation, it may also be possible to use artificial intelligence to detect changes to brain patterns precluded by changes in body temperature and skin sensitivity.
Artificial Intelligence “Reorders” Human Behavior
The fear of human succumbing to robotic lifestyles is often associated with artificial intelligence. The human brain is extremely complex and capable of far greater, destructive mental patterns, such as those of schizophrenics and psychotics. Creating artificial intelligence for these patients may prove challenging.
As mental health professionals begin to recognize the value of artificial intelligence in diagnosing serious mental health issues, mental health issues with lesser severity will be more easily detected and destructive progression avoided.
Artificial intelligence has the propensity to reorder only those human behaviors that fit AI software applications and algorithms. The real battle is mainly between human will and artificial intelligence that can override it.