The Canada Protocol is an open-access project for Artificial Intelligence and Big Data developers, decision-makers, professionals, researchers, and anyone thinking about using AI. It was created by Carl Mörch and Ahbishek Gupta in Montreal, Canada.
It started as a part of Carl Mörch’s Ph.D. The Mental Health version was scientifically supervised by Brian L. Mishara, his Ph.D. supervisor.
AI is a source of immense hopes and valid concerns. It’s challenging to know how to remain ethical when using AI. That’s why we started the Canada Protocol. We have synthesized and analyzed over 40 reports, professional guidelines, and key studies on AI & Ethics. Our intention is to gather all of the existing scientific and validated recommendations on how to address AI’s ethical risks and challenges. We hope this project can help you!
The Mental Health and Suicide Prevention checklist focuses on the very specific challenges of using AI in the context of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention.
We created a checklist to review the key potential ethical questions. It was validated in 2018 by 16 experts and professionals with a two-round Delphi consultation.
Why Mental Health & AI?
Mental Health has been transformed by the rise of AI and Big Data (Luxton, 2014). Professionals, researchers and companies increasingly use AI to detect at-risk individuals and depressed users, study emotions, increase motivation, improve public health strategies and the list goes on. But as promising as it might be, AI raises many complex ethical challenges, such as the difficulty of obtaining consent or the risk of divulging private information.
We synthesized and analyzed over 40 reports, professional guidelines, and key studies on AI & Ethics. We have collected over 300 mentions of challenges. We deduplicated the items and selected the most relevant to Mental Health & Suicide Prevention. We then invited international experts, AI developers, researchers specialized in ethics, ICT and Health to provide feedback using the Delphi Method, a method commonly used in Healthcare to gather expert opinions and reach a consensus on specific topics.
Why a checklist?
Checklists are frequently used in health care. They can be used for a wide range of reasons: to help clinicians diagnosing, to make sure a research methodology has been well implemented, or to improve public health strategies. They can be very useful by summarizing key recommendations and best practices.
How does it work?
This version of the Canada Protocol is a checklist. It invites you to review 38 key ethical questions when AI is used in the context of Mental Health Care or Suicide Prevention. The user is asked to read each item and thus review your practices and how your Autonomous Intelligent System (IEEE, 2016) works.
Who are the people that developed it?
Abhishek Gupta is the founder of the Montreal AI Ethics Institute and an AI Ethics researcher working on creating ethical, safe and inclusive AI systems. He also works as a Software Engineer doing machine learning at Microsoft in Montreal where he sits on the AI Ethics Review Board for Commercial Software Engineering.
Carl Mörch is a French psychologist and lecturer at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), Canada. He holds a M.Psy. from the Ecole de Psychologues Praticiens and is specialized in the use of Information and Communication Technologies in Psychology. He is currently finishing a Ph.D. at UQAM on the use of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data in Suicide Prevention. He also works with the Epione Lab at UQAM on the use of text-messaging to improve universal prevention strategies.
Camille Vézy is a PhD student in communication studies at the University of Montreal. She was involved in the coconstruction process of the Montreal Declaration for Responsible AI where she animated focus groups about the ethical impacts of AI in education, analyzed the collected data for the final report and conducted research about digital literacy. She is also chair of TechnoCultureClub’s board of directors, a non-profit organization that fosters active community participation in culture by supporting the development of new practices and uses of technology.
Brian Mishara is the Founder of the Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide, Ethical Issues and End-of-Life Practices (CRISE). He has been director of the CRISE since 1996. He is a Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Quebec since 1979. Internationally renowned researcher in the field of Suicidology, Brian Mishara was a co-founder of the Quebec Association for Suicide Prevention, was President of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) and was President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) from 2005 to 2009. He has authored a book on New Technologies in Suicide Prevention in 2013.