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AI Can Detect Loneliness in Your Voice When You Talk To Them. Alexa, Play Despacito

By: Buzz Staff


Last Updated: December 08, 2020, 15:15 IST

Image for representation. Credits: Her/YouTube.

Image for representation. Credits: Her/YouTube.

The AI system reportedly could qualitatively predict a subject’s loneliness with 94 percent accuracy.

You may have been saying, ‘Haha, that’s so sad. Alexa, play Despacito,’ ironically for a while – but can your Artificial Intelligence tell when you’re actually sad?

In a recently published scientific paper, a team led by researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine used artificial intelligence to analyze language patterns of older adults to discern degrees of loneliness.

The paper, published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry attempted to accurately assess the breadth and depth of societal loneliness.

“Most studies use either a direct question of “How often do you feel lonely?” which can lead to biased responses due to stigma associated with loneliness or the UCLA Loneliness Scale, which does not explicitly use the word ‘lonely,’ author Dr. Ellen Lee, assistant professor of psychiatry at UCSD School of Medicine told Patch.

Instead of the questions, the study used natural language processing or NLP, an unbiased quantitative assessment of expressed emotion and sentiment, in concert with the usual loneliness measurement tools.

Natural language processing is an umbrella term encompassing a variety of techniques that process or analyze large volumes of unstructured natural speech and text. As artificial intelligence and machine learning systems have advanced, a number of fascinating preliminary studies have begun to suggest conditions such as psychosis, PTSD, bipolar disorder and depression may all be detected just by analyzing a person’s natural speech, reports New Atlas.

The interviews were transcribed and then analyzed with the help of a natural language system developed by IBM.

“NLP and machine learning allow us to systematically examine long interviews from many individuals and explore how subtle speech features like emotions may indicate loneliness. Similar emotion analyses by humans would be open to bias, lack consistency, and require extensive training to standardize,” said Varsha Badal, a postdoctoral research fellow and author on the report.

The AI system could reportedly predict a subject’s loneliness with 94 percent accuracy. The more lonely a person was feeling, the longer their responses were to direct questions regarding loneliness.

“Eventually, complex AI systems could intervene in real-time to help individuals to reduce their loneliness by adopting in positive cognitions, managing social anxiety, and engaging in meaningful social activities,” the researchers concluded in the study.

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first published:September 28, 2020, 10:00 IST
last updated:December 08, 2020, 15:15 IST