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Though the impact our digital habits have on mental health may be increasingly grabbing the spotlight, there’s less talk about how these same technologies may one day be used to revolutionize how we treat mental illness. From chatbots that provide therapeutic conversation to apps that can monitor phone use to diagnose psychosis or manic episodes, medical providers now have new technological tools to supplement their first-hand interactions with patients. Even virtual reality, a technology that has yet to find its footing in popular entertainment, is making waves in the treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
These technologies are evolving rapidly—more rapidly than their regulation. Are we on the verge of a new era in psychiatric care, or will these treatments go the way of other now-condemned methods? Can algorithms reinvent our understanding of depression, anxiety, addiction, and other psychological issues, or at least make them easier to treat? Or is the industry known for “moving fast and breaking things” essentially at odds with a field governed by an oath “to first, do no harm”?
Join Future Tense in Washington, D.C. to consider how innovations in technology are reimagining the way we treat mental illness.
Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.
This event will be livestreamed on this page. Follow the conversation online using #FTMentalHealth and following @FutureTenseNow.