I suppose there is at least a little built-in credibility when a psychiatrist attacks his own profession, something I have been doing for many decades. But when it comes to my argument here that Psychiatry’s eager partners from the Technology sector, the “Computational Social Scientists”, are just as guilty of unscientific claims as the Psychiatrists, one need not a crystal ball to predict the derision with which they will take my comments.
I nonetheless proclaim that they are guilty of ignoring a fundamental principle of the digital revolution, one so basic that even the most uneducated, inexperiened and hopelessly backward observer of the tech revolution- someone like me- has known from the very beginning: garbage in, garbage out.
Those hoping to promote worthwhile results from data turned over to others are duty bound to understand the methods and aims of those others- in this case the profession of psychiatry. In preparation for this discussion I have heavily focused on this very point- do those who are partnering with social media giants like Microsoft, Goole, and Facebook give any indication that they have given any serious thought to Psychiatry’s methods, its track record of self-promotion under the guise of science, its ever-expanding claims about how many of the world’s people are “mentally ill”, its financial dependence on the Pharmaceutical Industry, and perhaps most important its relationship to those it so fervently says it wants to serve— persons in the middle of some emotional crisis.
In my search for the answers to this question, whether the data gatherers (like Facebook) and the data processors (exmplified here by Dr.Choudhury but echoed by so many others) have made any real effort to evaluate what Psychiatry is really about, I have found them totally enthralled, babes-in-arms apparently drunk on the milk and honey being supplied by the funders of their research and the financiers of the institutions housing their work.
Let me now turn to one of the better publicized efforts to bring what Dr. Rauch and McLean Hospital/Harvard’s TIPS program is so confidently promoting as the “next revolution’” in “early detection and treatment, even prevention.”