How A Machine Learned To Spot Depression
May 20, 2015
I’m in a booth with a computer program called Ellie. She’s on a screen in front of me.
Ellie was designed to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, and when I get into the booth she starts asking me questions — about my family, my feelings, my biggest regrets.
Emotions seem really messy and hard for a machine to understand. But Skip Rizzo, a psychologist who helped design Ellie, thought otherwise.
When I answer Ellie’s questions, she listens. But she doesn’t process the words I’m saying. She analyzes my tone. A camera tracks every detail of my facial expressions.