“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” CNN said in a statement Friday morning. Christian De Rocquigny du Fayel, a prosecutor in the town of Colmar, confirmed Bourdain’s death and said local law enforcement is investigating. ‘At this stage nothing suggests the involvement of a third party,’ the prosecutor said, adding that ‘a doctor at the scene’ had confirmed Bourdin’s death by hanging.
Bourdain’s death, coming days after the suicide of designer Kate Spade, brings to the forefront the complex issue of depression and how Artificial Intelligence can prevent these tragic decisions. A few years ago, a team of Harvard researchers developed the Beiwe platform, which attempted to leverage mobile phone technology and data science to offer medicine a wealth of additional information on disease digital phenotypes, including those of depression.
“Digital phenotyping” is a method of quantifying individual characteristics by analyzing cognitive data generated from an individual’s use of smartphones and other personal digital devices. Mindstrong, a California-based startup, has trained its machine learning algorithms on an equivalent of 200 person-years of cognitive data from three clinical studies. Through analytics, researchers interpret the data and suggest correlations between specific digital activities and brain activity.
A clinical trial managed by Mindstrong in partnership with Stanford University aims to define signals correlated with cognition, brain imaging and mood in patients with depression. Now that the majority of Americans, 77%, own a smartphone, it wouldn’t be too long before these applications come preinstalled and potentially help identify people with the most need for support. Nobody expected the famous chef and TV presenter to be one of them; he did have a good run and did the selfish thing, yet we can’t judge. Rest if peace Anthony Bourdain.