Through a large algorithm, Facebook may indeed be able to predict suicidal behaviors in users. Source: TechCrunch

Facebook had announced recently that it would launch AI technology to help detect suicidal patterns in Facebook posts and videos. The social media giant has started to roll out the new technology globally after a successful trial on text-based posts. The trial phase was largely done in the US.

However, Facebook says that the technology will not be available in the EU. Privacy laws in the region make the idea of tracking people’s post on social media very tricky. A statement released by Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of product management, noted the AI technology is rolling out in the US and other parts of the world except the EU. Rosen added that the approach will use pattern recognition technology to help identify posts and live streams that may likely be expressing suicidal thoughts.

Social media might be able to save lives. Source: Digital Trends

Facebook is calling it “proactive detection.” The social media platform already allows users to report friends who they think are at risk of suicide. The AI technology will further help improve the rates of detection and prevention. Facebook also confirmed that it was working to improve how it contacts first responders once someone at risk is identified.

However, all posts will still need to go through human review. The AI will simply be used to identify and prioritize cases in terms of urgency. However, before first responders are called in, the flagged cases will have to go through a manual review process. The process will be done by a dedicated team.

In addition to first responders, Facebook will also contact the person at risk using Messenger. The social media platform will provide links to relevant pages where affected people can get help. Sites like the National Suicide Prevention Line are expected to be highly recommended.

The social media giant has maintained that the purpose of this technology is to save lives. Writing on his Facebook wall, the company’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg praised the technology saying that it was one of the best uses of artificial intelligence.

If the process works on a large scale, who knows what future implications could have? Source: Fortune

Zuckerberg noted with concern that suicide has remained one of the leading causes of death among young people. Therefore, there is a need for everyone to do whatever they can to help those at risk and those in distress.

Zuckerberg admitted that the technology could be further improved. At the moment, the AI tools are using pattern recognition to identify suicidal signals. The Facebook CEO believes that in the future the technology might even be able to identify subtle nuances of language that could strengthen its efficacy. Facebook is also looking to use AI to identify cases of bullying and hate on its platform.

Cases of suicide on Facebook Live have been reported alarmingly recently, and Facebook feels that it can do more to prevent this issue. Once the new AI technology rolls out, the company is hoping that it will play a big part in lowering suicide cases. After all, this is quite a noble cause by the social media giant.