I work at ValueFirst Digital Media Private Ltd. I am a Product Marketer in the Surbo Team. Surbo is Chatbot Generator Platform owned by Value First. ...Full Bio
I work at ValueFirst Digital Media Private Ltd. I am a Product Marketer in the Surbo Team. Surbo is Chatbot Generator Platform owned by Value First.
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Canadian Government to use Artificial Intelligence to predict suicides.
Canadian Government plans to hire an Ottawa-based company that specializes in social media monitoring and artificial intelligence to forecast spikes in suicide rates. They are set to finalize a contract next month.
The federal government will work with the company to devise a strategy, define "suicide-related-behavior" on social media and then using this classifier conduct marketing research on the general population of Canada.
The pilot project is expected to last three months. Thereafter, the government will determine if it is needed for future.
Predicting Trump, Trudeau and Brexit
Instead of calling people to assess public opinion, Advanced Symbolics conducts its market research by identifying and tracking social media accounts to build a representative sample of a population.
Many phone surveys poll roughly 1,500 people, but Advanced Symbolics said its representative sample of Canada's population uses more than 160,000 social media accounts.
And the company said its market research method has been accurate where many others have failed.
"We're the only research firm in the world that was able to accurately predict Brexit, the Hillary and Trump election, and the Canadian election of 2015," said CEO Erin Kelly.
'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.
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Instead, the AI will flag communities or regions where multiple suicides are likely. For example, Cape Breton Island was left reeling last year after three teenagers in the region died by suicide.
"The spike that happened in Cape Breton, as unfortunate as it is, we can learn patterns from that," White said. "We can also learn patterns from what happened in Saskatchewan, patterns from Northern communities, patterns from college students."
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"We're not violating anybody's privacy, it's all public posts," added Kelly. "We create representative samples of populations on social media, and we observe their behaviour without disturbing it."
Sending report before the suicides
The government had send additional counsellors & mental health experts to the Cape Breton region, following the suicides in that area.
Advanced Symbolics feels, AI could offer a 2 to 3 month warning before a spike of suicide occurs. They can then share this information with the government who can then mobilize mental health resources accordingly.
They will begin defining suicide-related behavior in January.