Canadian government to hire company that uses artificial intelligence to identify online suicide-related behaviour

Using artificial intelligence to analyze social media trends, the company hired by the federal government claims it could predict surges in suicide rates, including the precise region where they will occur.


‘We’re not violating anybody’s privacy’

Advanced Symbolics said its artificial intelligence looks for trends, not individual cases.

“It’d be a bit freaky if we built something that monitors what everyone is saying and then the government contacts you and said, ‘Hi, our computer AI has said we think you’re likely to kill yourself’,” said Kenton White, chief scientist with Advanced Symbolics.

Instead, the AI will flag communities or regions where multiple suicides could be likely. For example, Cape Breton Island was left reeling last year after three teenagers in the region died by suicide.

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