Even when you know someone is depressed, it’s much harder to know whether that person contemplates taking their own life and, if so, whether that danger is imminent. Now, in a study published in Nature Human Behavior, researchers have developed a machine-learning algorithm that identifies suicidal individuals based on their brain’s response to words and concepts about life and death. Though the study’s small sample size and correlative conclusions based on expensive brain scans raise questions about how broadly the results will apply, the artificial intelligence discriminated suicidal thinkers with high accuracy, WIRED reports. That means machine learning could one day serve as a predictive tool for health care workers, given that most who attempt to take their own life do not admit thinking about it beforehand.
Read our COVID-19 research and news.