How Accurate Could a Computer Be at Diagnosing Depression?
Researchers have developed computer software that can diagnose clinical depression by noticing how people behave during psychiatric interviews.
Researchers have developed computer software that can accurately diagnose clinical depression by noticing how people behave during psychiatric interviews. But unlike long discussions about family history and mental feelings, the software gauges biomarkers that are thought to be more objective than a psychiatric evaluation.
Developed by researchers at the University of Southern California and Carnegie Mellon University, the software tracks how a person moves during a video-recorded interview, taking its cues from three primary biological indications.
How long you hold a smile and how often you look at the ground can diagnose clinical depression with 75 percent accuracy. By analyzing speech pattern, the test becomes 85 percent accurate.
One qualitative standard used by psychiatrists to diagnose depression is the pronunciation of vowels — depressed people tend to slur them. "The software found that depressed participants’ vowel-space ratio in normal speech was 0.49 (compared with 1.0 for a reference population reading a standard word list)."
While the software isn't designed to replace psychiatric evaluations performed by trained mental health professionals, it could relieve some pressure from doctors' often-busy schedules. But the real benefit would be alleviating the pain sooner of those suffering from depression.
Technology has replaced labor in industrial sectors for decades, but more advanced industries, from law to medicine, are also at risk of being replaced by automation. Andrew McAfee, associate director of the Center for Digital Business at the MIT Sloan School of Management, explains:
Read more at the Economist.
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In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
- The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
- Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
- Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
- During the Vietnam War, Robert McNamara began a program called Project 100,000.
- The program brought over 300,000 men to Vietnam who failed to meet minimum criteria for military service, both physically and mentally.
- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
The 116th Congress is set to break records in term of diversity among its lawmakers, though those changes are coming almost entirely from Democrats.
- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
- In total, almost half of the newly elected Congressional representatives are not white men.
- Those changes come almost entirely from Democrats; Republican members-elect are all white men except for one woman.
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