Analyzing social media using artificial intelligence may pick up signals of depression in white Americans but not in Black counterparts, according to a study that highlights the risk of training AI models for healthcare-related tasks without data from diverse racial and ethnic groups. The AI model used for the study was more than three times less predictive for depression when applied to Black people who use Meta Platforms’ (META.O), opens new tab Facebook than for white people, the researchers reported. “Race seems to have been especially neglected in work on language-based assessment of mental illness,” the authors of the U.S. study wrote in a report published in PNAS,, opens new tab the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Previous research on social media posts had indicated that people who frequently use first-person pronouns, such as I, me or mine, and certain categories of words, such as self-deprecating terms, are at higher risk for depression. For the new study, researchers used an “off the shelf” AI tool to analyze language in posts from 868 volunteers, including equal numbers of Black and white adults who shared other characteristics such as age and gender. All participants also completed a validated questionnaire used by healthcare providers to screen for depression.

via reuters: AI fails to detect depression signs in social media posts by Black Americans, study finds

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