There are such a group of people, like superheroes in comics, hidden in the online world, hidden in the crowds of the city, through artificial intelligence technology to find and save those who want to commit suicide, bringing countless lives to the desperate. They are the “AI Tree Cave Rescue Team” initiated by Professor Huang Zhisheng.
“I have depression, so I just go to die. There is no important reason. You don’t have to care about my departure. Bye.” This is the last Weibo of a 22-year-old female college student in Nanjing who is “walking for dinner”. With the passage of time, this Weibo has not been quiet. Today, there are more than 1.6 million messages under Weibo. Among them, the vast majority are messages that want to kill.
Legend has it that when people in ancient times wanted to talk and did not want to be known, they ran into the forest, found a tree with a hole, and spoke their heart to the tree hole. In modern society, those who want to kill themselves also want to find a tree hole, and some of the deceased blogger’s Weibo has become their “tree hole.”
World Health Organization statistics show that about 800,000 people die from suicide every year, and one person dies every 40 seconds. In the long night, many young people like “walking away” struggled on the death line. When they are desperate, they try to leave their last words on the Internet; they are unrequited, but eager to be heard.
Give you 13 seconds to save me
On January 11, 2020, at the Beijing National Swimming Center, the “AI Tree Cave Rescue Team” initiated by Professor Huang Zhisheng was rated as the “2019 Weibo Night” public welfare annual impact event. At the awards ceremony, Professor Huang took a dark suit on the stage, with a strenuous pace. If he ignores the little white hair on the side of the temple when the camera is zoomed in, it is difficult to imagine that he is over 60 years old.
In the academic world, Professor Huang has a series of titles, professor at the Free University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, chief scientist of the depression artificial intelligence innovation team of the Capital Medical University Brain Protection Center, and deputy dean of the Big Data Institute of Wuhan University of Science and Technology. His research field is Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Intelligence), which is one of the three cutting-edge technologies (genetic engineering, nanoscience, artificial intelligence) in the 21st century. In this regard, Professor Huang often ridicules himself: “My name is Zhisheng, and I was born to create wisdom.”
From academic cross-border to public welfare, Professor Huang is no accident. Since 2008, his team started to cooperate with the Chinese team on scientific research. With the deepening of research, Huang Zhisheng began to pay attention to a special group, depression and suicide. Can AI technology help them do something? Huang Zhisheng keeps trying and thinking hard.
In March 2018, he accidentally read an article about “tree holes”. Legend has it that when people in ancient times wanted to talk and did not want to be known, they would go to the forest, find a tree with a hole, and say their heart to the tree hole. In modern society, many people with depression also want to find a channel to talk, so the microblogs of the late bloggers become their “tree holes.” There are a large number of depressed people hiding in the “tree hole”, they have more or less the idea of suicide.
On the Weibo of the late young scholar Jiang Xulin, Huang Zhisheng was impressed by a message in a tree hole: “They said that the impulse to commit suicide (the thought lasts) has a period of 13 seconds. That means you hold me in 13 seconds, I Maybe I won’t commit suicide. I’m crumbling, I give you all the hope, and give you 13 seconds to save me.” 13 seconds, such a short time, let Huang Zhisheng deeply understand the phrase “time is life”. If we can use AI technology to discover the Weibo tree hole and intervene in a timely manner to the suicide population, will it save many lives? Inspired by the flash of light, Huang Zhisheng quickly moved.
On April 2, 2018, he was going to propose the idea of the “tree hole action” plan to his scientific research cooperation team “Medical Artificial Intelligence Group” through WeChat group: with the help of an intelligent subject (also called robot) to patrol various social media (such as Weibo), using its core knowledge graph technology (also known as semantic technology), to find high-risk groups with suicidal tendencies, and then organize manpower to implement rescue.
The WeChat group has gathered the most cutting-edge scholars, doctors, and entrepreneurs in the field of medical AI in China. It is very suitable for cooperating with this project, but the Shudong project is a pure public welfare. It requires a lot of time and effort. Will anyone support it? Huang Zhisheng disturbed the send button. Unexpectedly, the news immediately received a positive response from hundreds of experts and scholars in the group. On July 25, 2018, the tree hole robot No. 01 personally programmed by Huang Zhisheng was officially launched. Tree hole robots run 3 to 4 times a day, each time extracting about 10 pieces of information from thousands of micro-blog “tree holes”, and the accuracy rate of suicide risk discrimination reached 82%. More than a year later, the tree hole robot has developed to the seventh generation.
“Suicide risk level 5: One of my netizens is trying to commit suicide. She just failed suicide once and cut her wrist. After that, she prepared to go home and jump off the roof…” Huang Zhisheng forwarded to Shudong rescue group A Weibo. Early warning information of level 5 or higher means that a rescue team of at least dozens of people will immediately start operations. This grading standard for suicide risk was formulated by Huang Zhisheng for accurate identification of suicide risk. It is divided into 0 to 10 levels. The higher the level, the higher the suicide risk.
Tree-hole robots are becoming more and more precise in finding suicides, but Huang Zhisheng’s team has gradually discovered in practice that robots can only find and discourage people who want to kill themselves, but how can we ensure that they survive strong, robots cannot give answer. Artificial intelligence is not equal to the omnipotence of machines, and Huang Zhisheng has begun to think about it again.
Saving lives is the highest ethics
Unlike general crisis interventions, Tree Cave Rescue is a loving crisis rescue. Only enthusiasm is not enough, and you need to be more professional. According to data published by the World Health Organization, behind a suicide death may be accompanied by more than 20 suicide attempts. Attempted suicide, even if rescued, will still repeat suicide. The maximum number of suicides by individuals that the rescue team intervened was 8 times.
The rescue work on April 28, 2018 made Huang Zhisheng’s memory fresh. That day, when the team collected tree hole data, they found a suspicious message. A girl left a message on Weibo to commit suicide by burning charcoal on May Day. Time is running out, and volunteers immediately launched rescue operations. After a night of searching, the volunteers found the contact information of the girl Xiao Wu and locked her position in Shandong.
Because of emotional setbacks, Xiao Wu has a tendency to be depressed and has dropped out of school. Everyone calmed Xiao Wu through the Internet and listened to her troubles. A careful volunteer found that she once wrote in a message: “I have lived so big, no one has ever sent me flowers, no one really loves me. I am such a poor person, not worthy of living in the world “So, everybody made a donation spontaneously and asked her to send her a bunch of flowers anonymously every week, hoping that her life could be extended while waiting for the next flower delivery, and then slowly come out. Sure enough, Xiao Wu, who received the flowers, gradually smiled, and his emotions seemed to stabilize. He even contacted the school on May 16 to ask for resumption of school and take the exam. However, just when everyone thought she was going to give up her suicidal thoughts, the bad news came suddenly-on June 17, 2018, Xiao Wu left a sentence on the Weibo “Bye Bye”, swallowed drugs and committed suicide, and left the world forever.
This rescue operation only allowed Xiao Wu to live for 47 days, leaving Huang Zhisheng and the rescue team with deep regret. They made a deep analysis afterwards, and Xiao Wu may have a deeper hidden meaning, “She told me with her life that saving people is never easy.” In order to make the team more professional, Huang Zhisheng read a lot of psychology books and invited each week The top domestic scholars or doctors share relevant knowledge about depression, medical artificial intelligence, suicide assistance, etc. in the form of live video in the group. The team agreed that each time a rescue is initiated, a rescue team or care team of more than 5 people will be established to communicate information and prevent danger through the power of the team.
With more and more cases of exposure, Huang Zhisheng found that 80% of suicides are related to depression. Among them, the majority of young people aged 16 to 26 years old. The misunderstanding of family members and the outside world, coupled with a sense of sickness, forced these young people to hide their condition, which made rescue more difficult.
On December 28, 2018, Shudong Robot searched for a “I went to Wuyi Mountain during New Year’s Eve tour, and I jumped the building when I returned.” The Weibo message, the rescue team tried their best to contact the party’s mother. The other party didn’t understand: “My daughter just said that she was laughing just now. Why did you say she was going to seek death? If you spread rumors everywhere, causing her to lose her job and find her boyfriend, I will hold you accountable. “Later, the rescue team sent the mother a diagnosis report of her daughter’s depression, but she still didn’t take it seriously.
On January 1, 2019, the girl sent a photo on the Weibo overlooking the window of the tall building, and left a message “Will you come to my memorial service?” Found by Shudong Robot, the volunteer notified the police in time She was rescued. A few days later, the girl formed a group and prepared to jump off the building collectively. This time, the rescue team was divided into two groups, leading all the way to the front, all the way into the side of the jumping group to persuade, and call the police again. It was only then that the mother finally confronted her daughter’s problems and sent her to treatment.
Intervening suicide through some mechanism is not Huang Zhisheng’s first. Facebook released a new suicide prevention tool in 2017. Once users are found to be suicidal, they directly notify the police. Huang Zhisheng’s rescue team is more euphemistic. They follow strict boundaries when selecting rescuers, and only take rescue actions against high-risk people who are already committing suicide; for those who have no life-threatening life, they fully protect their privacy. , As far as possible not to interfere with their lives. Nevertheless, the outside world still has controversy over the rescue team. But Huang Zhisheng felt that all difficulties must make way in front of life, “Saving life is the highest ethics.”
When you save a life, you save a world
The movie “Schindler’s List” has a classic line: “When you save a life, you save a world.” This sentence is used to describe Professor Huang Zhisheng and his “AI Tree Cave Rescue Team”. . In more than a year, Shudong Rescue Team has developed into a team of more than 600 people covering the whole country. There are medical professionals, psychologists, and caring volunteers who receive regular training. The rescue team sent “care information” to more than 5,270 high-risk people, effectively preventing 1,603 suicides.
“That day, I was sitting alone by the river and looking for short-sightedness. More than 20 people sent me a message about my life and death. I was very moved. I cried for hours on the river and finally came back.” This is a depression After giving up suicide, the patient sent a message to Huang Zhisheng. There was so much information, and Huang Zhisheng and the rescue team were encouraged. “Seeing that they are not doing stupid things, our efforts are worth it.”
More and more people find Huang Zhisheng and sign up as volunteers, including many college students. After more than a year of training, the Shudong Rescue Team became more and more rational. These rescued people must not only live, but also live with quality. Volunteers once introduced a person who attempted suicide to do data labeling work. Now, he can earn 7,000 yuan a month.
During the rescue process, some volunteers and the rescued have also become friends. Wuhan Volunteer Teacher Chen was a depression patient. After listening to Huang Zhisheng’s lecture, he decided to join the rescue team. During the rescue, he met Xiao Bei, a depression patient. This 21-year-old girl has acted suicide more than once. When she decided to go to Wuhan to jump the Yangtze River, she was caught by a tree-hole robot. At 3 a.m., Teacher Chen and several volunteers set off quickly and contacted the local police. In the end, they stopped Xiaobei.
After the separation, Teacher Chen added Xiaobei’s WeChat. He shared his previous depression experience with Xiaobei, and mobilized his wife to chat with Xiaobei. The couple enlightened her together. Xiaobei slowly opened his heart. It turned out that she grew up with her grandparents in the countryside, lacking family care, and did not continue to go to school after graduating from technical secondary school. Low education, unsatisfactory work, boyfriend suffering from depression, plus his loneliness and sensitivity, make Xiaobei pessimistic. With the unremitting efforts of Mrs. Chen and his wife, Xiaobei slowly changed. Now, she works as a waiter in a hotel in Shenzhen, and there is more and more sunshine in her heart.
On January 14, 2020, this day is the World Logic Day, which means a lot to Huang Zhisheng. The Shudong Rescue Team was formally taken over by Beijing Fengsheng Charity Foundation, and management work was on track. Huang Zhisheng decided to retreat behind the scenes and concentrate on scientific research. He plans to use AI technology to calculate the semantic distance and let the machine choose the best language to unblock.
A few days later, the sudden epidemic disrupted Huang Zhisheng’s rhythm. The new corona virus attacked Wuhan with unprecedented momentum, the black clouds crushed the city, Wuhan was in a hurry! For Huang Zhisheng, Wuhan is a special presence. This is his second hometown and home base of the Shudong Rescue Team. Volunteers account for the largest proportion and the highest efficiency. When the epidemic struck, the old man in a flower armor hung into battle, and the Tree Cave Rescue Team went all out to fight!
On February 6, Huang Zhisheng fought for more than ten hours in a row, and developed the epidemic monitoring robot No. 001, which was specifically used to collect information for patients with new coronavirus pneumonia. In less than a month, No. 001 has released more than 400 outbreak information for help. During the epidemic, psychological problems caused by fear abound, and volunteers have carried the banner of psychological counseling, not only helping ordinary people to do psychological counseling, but also responsible for the mental protection of more than 500 mental patients in 22 communities jobs.
A seed will always grow into a towering tree in suitable soil. This original heart is precious. Some people may think that what Huang Zhisheng is doing now deviates from his job, but he doesn’t think so. He thinks: let your knowledge serve the society, this is your most job.
Huang Zhisheng said that his roots are in China, and he will give back this hot spot that raised him with enthusiasm. No matter where this world is going, Huang Zhisheng and his Tree Cave Rescue Team will, as always, among the living beings, light the beam of life with love.