Artificial intelligence algorithms can now more accurately detect depressed moods based on the sound of a person’s voice, thanks to research by University of Alberta computer scientists, Global News reports.
The study used previous research that suggests the timbre of a person’s voice contains information about their mood.
PhD student Mashrura Tasnim and professor Eleni Stroulia developed a methodology that combines several machine-learning algorithms to more accurately detect depression using acoustic cues.
The pair sees the technology being applied by individuals and care providers.
“A realistic scenario is to have people use an app that will collect voice samples as they speak naturally,” Stroulia said.
“The app, running on the user’s phone, will recognize and track indicators of mood, such as depression, over time.
“Much like you have a step counter on your phone, you could have a depression indicator based on your voice as you use the phone,” she said.
Federal government data shows about 11 per cent of Canadian men and 16 per cent of Canadian women will experience a major depression sometime in their life. More than three million youth aged 12 to 19 are at risk of developing depression, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association.