Are you OK?? The iPhone will check if you are depressed
Mobility, physical activity, sleep patterns, typing – this data is supposed to help iPhone diagnose disease. Apple has begun developing an algorithm to diagnose depression, anxiety, and cognitive impairment.
How it should work?
According to a report published by „Wall Street Journal” iPhone and Apple Watch devices, will record data m.in. The speed at which messages are written and any typos made, as well as the content of the message itself. Pulse, respiratory rate, physical activity and sleep information are to be taken into account. What else? Camera and speaker data. The iPhone will also diagnose you based on your voice and facial expressions.
During the research phase, data collected by the devices will be reviewed along with a well-being questionnaire. Scientists will also study the level of cortisol (stress hormone). Brain scans of test subjects are supposed to help when it comes to determining cognitive processes.
If device data is found to correlate with health, it could lay the groundwork for developing an app or feature on the phone that will alert people to illness.
The study is a collaboration between Apple and biotech company Biogen and the University of California, Los Angeles. The first institution will study cognitive disorders, the second – depression, stress and anxiety. Both projects are only in the early stages of development.
Although the research is supposed to serve a good purpose, there are already doubts as to whether such a depression screening app is ethical? Serious diseases are diagnosed by doctors who give professional support to the patient. Although as the American giant points out, the disease recognition function would encourage people to contact a clinic and seek help at an early stage of disease.
Then there is the issue of privacy. Here Apple asserts that health information will be processed locally on the device and only the user would have access to it.