Research Horizons


TIME Explores A.I. as Tool for Suicide Prevention

Dr. Pestian joins leading experts discussing potential value and possible pitfalls of emerging tech


Check out a substantial article from TIME magazine online entitled, “AI Is Turning Social Media Into the Next Frontier for Suicide Prevention.”


The article quotes several leading experts discussing the pros and cons of using artificial intelligence tools to screen social media posts for signs of suicidality.


The article includes comments from John Pestian, PhD, MBA, director of the Computational Medicine Center at Cincinnati Children’s and co-principal investigator for our Decoding Mental Health Center. Pestian is a leading authority in applying advanced machine learning and related artificial intelligence approaches to developing early detection tools for mental health care and suicide prevention.


From the story: Services that connect social media users with human support can be effective, Pestian says.


“If you had a friend, they might say, ‘Let me drive you to the hospital,’” he says. “The AI could be the car that drives the person to care.” What’s riskier, in his opinion, is “let[ting] the AI do the care” by training it to duplicate aspects of therapy, as some AI chatbots do.