Use the Internet long enough and you’ll discover that it’s an effective forum for expressing your deepest feelings and secrets to millions of other people while remaining anonymous at the same time. It’s especially a popular place for people who have trouble opening up to a real person, such as those who have recently experienced traumatic events.
A data analytics company called SentiMetrix is analyzing this behavior to help psychologists, psychiatrists, and other clinicians identify symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in soldiers. It accomplishes this by means of what many would think is counterintuitive and impersonal for assessing one’s mental health – artificial intelligence.
The SentiMetrix algorithm works by analyzing text from soldiers’ online activity, such as blog posts, and compares it with a database of stressful situations that could cause or exacerbate PTSD. In an article in the Huffington Post about SentiMetrix, the program…
“… looks for evidence of any one of thirteen symptoms associated with PTSD, including feeling “jumpy or easily startled,” “distant or cut off from other people,” or a “loss of interest in things that were enjoyable in the past.” Though the software can also pick up on physiological symptoms, such as sleep trouble, there are four symptoms associated with PTSD that SentiMetrix cannot yet extract, such as “feeling as though your future may be cut short,” or avoiding situations that recall a stressful experience from the past.
The SentiMetrix program rates each symptom on a zero-to-one point scale, with a higher score indicating the software has greater confidence that the text’s author suffers from that symptom.”
According to SentiMetrix, the program so far boasts an 80 percent accuracy rate, which is on par with the accuracy of actual human clinicians. It’s also recently received funding from the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.
More information: SentiMetrix website…