Facebook rolls out AI upgrade to track those with suicidal thoughts, reach out; read Mark Zuckerberg post

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New Delhi | Published: November 28, 2017 12:25:57 AM

Facebook has upgraded its AI tools to identify those expressing suicidal thoughts on the social networking sites in an attempt to intervene and even stop them from taking extreme steps.

Mark Zuckerberg post, Mark Zuckerberg, facebook ceo and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg post, facebook, facebook AI toolsMark Zuckerberg says instead of thinking how AI can be harmful in future, it is better to remind ourselves of how it is actually helping save people?s lives today. (Reuters)

Facebook has upgraded its AI tools to identify those expressing suicidal thoughts on the social networking sites in an attempt to intervene and even stop them from taking extreme steps. It has been done so that those expressing such feelings can be reached quickly and helped. On his Facebook account, company CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said, “Starting today we’re upgrading our AI tools to identify when someone is expressing thoughts about suicide on Facebook so we can help get them the support they need quickly. In the last month alone, these AI tools have helped us connect with first responders quickly more than 100 times”.

He added that instead of thinking how AI can be harmful in future, it is better to remind ourselves of how it is actually helping save people’s lives today.

“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, 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”, he wrote further.

Observing that suicide is one of the leading causes of death for the young, he added that this was a new approach to prevention. “We’re going to keep working closely with our partners at Save.org, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’, 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”, Mark Zuckerberg added.

Notably, last week, the company introduced its digital training and start-up training hubs in India. The aim of these programmes were to help small businesses and people grow by providing them the digital skills required to compete in today’s digital economy. The social media giant also said it hopes to train more than half a million people in India by 2020 through these online training hubs. Ritesh Mehta, Head of Programmes, Facebook, India and South Asia said that the best way to prepare India for a digital economy is by empowering people with the tools, knowledge, and skills to help them achieve success.

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