Article

Technology could change how we address mental health, if we can navigate the ethical dilemmas

Health technology Artificial Intelligence (AI) Mental health Ethics Privacy Governance
Description

Where to draw the line between policing and protecting is an age-old ethical dilemma, and one that’s felt keenly when it comes to mental health.

A range of technological solutions to aid wellbeing and mental health have emerged in recent years. For example, it’s now technically possible to gauge someone’s state of mind by monitoring their posts on Facebook or Twitter.

But when would it be acceptable for the emergency services to show up or a doctor or counsellor to intervene?

These questions are addressed in a report launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China.

It’s a pressing topic, since one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives and around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions.

While the report advocates scaling access to mental health care using smartphones, wearable sensors and cloud-based deep-learning artificial intelligence tools, it also proposes an ethical framework to address issues like privacy, trust and governance, that could hold back the adoption of such initiatives.

Using new and existing technologies “raises a complex web of ethical dilemmas,” the report said, particularly surrounding data privacy and individuals’ rights.

Publication Details
Publication Year:
2019