Google wants to monitor your mental health. You should welcome it into your mind - Telegraph (James Kirkup, 28 octobre 2015)
The use of technology to track and treat mental illness is deeply worrying but sadly necessary.
Next week, Dr Tom Insel leaves his post as head of the US National Institute of Mental Health, a job that made him America’s top mental health doctor. Dr Insel is a neuroscientist and a psychiatrist and a leading authority on both the medicine and public policies needed to deal with problems of the mind. He’s 64 but he’s not retiring. He’s going to work for #Google.
More precisely, he’s going to work for Google Life Sciences, one of the more exotic provinces of the online empire. He’s going to investigate how technology can help diagnose and treat mental health conditions. Google doesn’t just want to read your mind, it wants to fix it too.
It’s not alone. Apple, IBM and Intel are among technology companies exploring the same field. IBM this year carried out research with Columbia University that suggested computer analysis of speech patterns can more accurately predict the onset of psychosis than conventional tests involving blood samples or brain scans. Other researchers theorise that a person’s internet search history or even shopping habits (so handily recorded by your innocuous loyalty card) can identify the first signs of mental illness. Computers can now tell when something is about to go terribly wrong in someone’s mind.
Farewell | NIMH (By Thomas Insel on October 29, 2015)
I am leaving NIMH later this week and will soon begin working on mental health issues at Google Life Sciences (GLS), a new company under the Alphabet umbrella. I don’t know exactly what the team will do at GLS but the theme will be “disruptive innovation” and the approach is likely to involve technology and what is now called “deep learning” (what some have called “data analytics”). As an example of the approach, the GLS team working on diabetes has created a contact lens with a sensor for continuous, passive, precise monitoring of glucose. This contact lens includes a Bluetooth transmitter linked to the patient’s cell phone, which in turn, controls an insulin pump. Could we create an analogous closed loop system to help people manage depression or anxiety or psychosis? That’s a question I will be thinking about a lot in the coming months.