According to a new study published in EPJ Data Science, AI can tell if Instagram users are experiencing depression simply by looking through their feeds.
The study looked at 43,950 images across 166 volunteer accounts and found that an algorithm’s prediction of depression outperformed the average rate of accurate depression diagnoses conducted by doctors.
The study found that Instagram users with depression were found to post bluer, darker, and grayer pictures, and were also more likely to post images with lone faces in them.
They were also more filter-adverse but when they did use one, they choose “Inkwell,” a black and white filter, while users without depression preferred the sun-tinted “Valencia” filter.
Interestingly, it was also found that images with more comments were more likely to be posted by users with depression.
While it seems strange that a machine can diagnose us better than our doctor, it’s actually not that surprising. “Doctors don’t have visibility into our lives the way our mobile phone does,” the co-author of the study, Chris Danforth explained to Mashable. “It knows a lot more about us than we know about ourselves.”
If you’re encountering difficult times, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.
If you’re in the U.S. you can call directly at 1-800-273-8255.