Improving the Applicability of AI for Psychiatric Applications through Human-in-the-loop Methodologies

Schizophr Bull. 2022 Sep 1;48(5):949-957. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbac038.


Objectives: Machine learning (ML) and natural language processing have great potential to improve efficiency and accuracy in diagnosis, treatment recommendations, predictive interventions, and scarce resource allocation within psychiatry. Researchers often conceptualize such an approach as operating in isolation without much need for human involvement, yet it remains crucial to harness human-in-the-loop practices when developing and implementing such techniques as their absence may be catastrophic. We advocate for building ML-based technologies that collaborate with experts within psychiatry in all stages of implementation and use to increase model performance while simultaneously increasing the practicality, robustness, and reliability of the process.

Methods: We showcase pitfalls of the traditional ML framework and explain how it can be improved with human-in-the-loop techniques. Specifically, we applied active learning strategies to the automatic scoring of a story recall task and compared the results to a traditional approach.

Results: Human-in-the-loop methodologies supplied a greater understanding of where the model was least confident or had knowledge gaps during training. As compared to the traditional framework, less than half of the training data were needed to reach a given accuracy.

Conclusions: Human-in-the-loop ML is an approach to data collection and model creation that harnesses active learning to select the most critical data needed to increase a model's accuracy and generalizability more efficiently than classic random sampling would otherwise allow. Such techniques may additionally operate as safeguards from spurious predictions and can aid in decreasing disparities that artificial intelligence systems otherwise propagate.

Keywords: active learning; machine learning; natural language processing; safeguards.

MeSH terms

  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Natural Language Processing
  • Psychiatry*
  • Reproducibility of Results