Facebook upgrades AI tools to help prevent suicide

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Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for young people and as a new approach to prevention, Facebook has upgraded its AI tools to identify when someone is expressing thoughts about suicide on Facebook, so that Facebook can help people get the needed support quickly.

Through a Facebook post on his Facebook Page, Mark Zuckerburg CEO and Founder of Facebook said that in the last month alone, Facebook AI tools had helped connect with first responders quickly more than 100 times.

“With all the fear about how AI may be harmful in the future, it’s good to remind ourselves how AI is helping save people’s lives today,” he said.

He added, “There’s a lot more we can do to improve this further. Today, these AI tools mostly use pattern recognition to identify signals like comments asking if someone is okay and then quickly report them to our teams working 24/7 around the world to get people help within minutes.”

In the future, Zuckerburg said that the Social Platform looks into ways of fully utilizing the potential of AI. AI will be able to understand more of the subtle nuances of language, and will be able to identify different issues beyond suicide as well, including quickly spotting more kinds of bullying and hate.

Facebook will be working closely with other partners at Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline , Forefront Suicide Prevent, and with first responders to keep improving.

“If we can use AI to help people be there for their family and friends, that’s an important and positive step forward,” said Zuckerburg.

According to statistics availed by World Health Organisation, close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year, which is one person every 40 seconds. Many more attempt suicide. Suicide occurs throughout the lifespan and is the second leading cause of death among youths aged 15-29 years globally.

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