When Algorithms Are Running the Asylum

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From Neo.life: The emerging discipline of computational psychiatry, which aims to use machine-learning algorithms to recognize patterns of mental distress and identify treatments that may be effective, has the potential to dramatically change the mental health field.

“Right now, psychiatry is a mess. Diagnostic categories are controversial. Theories of mental illness are rooted in the same era of psychodynamics that gave us the idea that autism is caused by refrigerator mothers. And nothing — not genetics, not neurochemistry, not anatomical differences — has made it possible to pinpoint why any given treatment works for some patients and not for others.

If computational psychiatry works out, it could make diagnoses and treatments much more precise. But it’s also possible that instead of solving psychiatry’s problems, computers will simply reinforce them.”

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