When Google hires the head of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, you know something big is in the works. And that's exactly what seems to be happening.
Next week, Dr. Tom Insel will begin working for Google Life Sciences to research ways that technology can help to diagnose mental illness. And Google isn't the only company that's interested in this. Apple and IBM are exploring the possibilities, too.
This new form of mind reading may seem invasive, but could be a good thing. When you think about it, people are already using technology to monitor their health, using devices like FitBits, Jawbones, etc.
There are also apps and gadgets that monitor your activity and sleep cycles. And consumers find these devices to be beneficial, because they streamline the process of collecting health data and make it easier to communicate concerns with their doctors.
With recent advances, it is possible that our devices will aid experts in evaluating our mental health one day. Our phones and tablets, for example, might observe our actions, habits and routines, and know when something is amiss in our minds.
Individuals consult with their doctor a few times per year, however, they carry their phones with them daily. As technology continues to grow, this type of monitoring may identify concerning patterns, and connect people with resources to get help.
In the past decade, we've seen numerous public shootings that were tied to mental illness. Dr. Insel believes technology will one day be able to identifying symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses early on.
What do you think? Are you worried that Google is taking this too far? Let us know in the comments below.