Harvard Developed AI Identifies the Shortest Path to Human Happiness

The researchers created a digital model of psychology aimed to improve mental health. The system offers superior personalization and identifies the shortest path toward a cluster of mental stability for any individual.

Deep Longevity, in collaboration with Harvard Medical School, presents a deep learning approach to mental health.

Deep Longevity has published a paper in Aging-US outlining a machine learning approach to human psychology in collaboration with Nancy Etcoff, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School, an authority on happiness and beauty.

The authors created two digital models of human psychology based on data from the Midlife in the United States study.

The first model is an ensemble of deep neural networks that predicts respondents’ chronological age and psychological well-being in 10 years using information from a psychological survey. This model depicts the trajectories of the human mind as it ages. It also demonstrates that the capacity to form meaningful connections, as well as mental autonomy and environmental mastery, develops with age. It also suggests that the emphasis on personal progress is constantly declining, but the sense of having a purpose in life only fades after 40-50 years. These results add to the growing body of knowledge on socioemotional selectivity and hedonic adaptation in the context of adult personality development.

The article describes an AI-based recommendation engine that can estimate one’s psychological age and future well-being based on a constructed psychological survey. The AI uses the information from a respondent to place them on a 2D map of all possible psychological profiles and derive ways to improve their long-term well-being. This model of human psychology can be used in self-help digital applications and during therapist sessions. Credit: Michelle Keller

The second model is a self-organizing map that was created to serve as the foundation for a recommendation engine for mental health applications. This unsupervised learning algorithm splits all respondents into clusters depending on their likelihood of developing depression and determines the shortest path toward a cluster of mental stability for any individual. Alex Zhavoronkov, the chief longevity officer of Deep Longevity, elaborates, “Existing mental health applications offer generic advice that applies to everyone yet fits no one. We have built a system that is scientifically sound and offers superior personalization.”

To demonstrate this system’s potential, Deep Longevity has released a web service FuturSelf, a free online application that lets users take the psychological test described in the original publication. At the end of the assessment, users receive a report with insights aimed at improving their long-term mental well-being and can enroll in a guidance program that provides them with a steady flow of AI-chosen recommendations. Data obtained on FuturSelf will be used to further develop Deep Longevity’s digital approach to mental health.

FuturSelf is a free online mental health service that offers guidance based on a psychological profile assessment by AI. The core of FuturSelf is represented by a self-organizing map that classifies respondents and identifies the most suitable ways to improve one’s well-being. Credit: Fedor Galkin

A leading biogerontology expert, professor Vadim Gladyshev from Harvard Medical School, comments on the potential of FuturSelf:

“This study offers an interesting perspective on psychological age, future well-being, and risk of depression, and demonstrates a novel application of machine learning approaches to the issues of psychological health. It also broadens how we view aging and transitions through life stages and emotional states.”

The authors plan to continue studying human psychology in the context of aging and long-term well-being. They are working on a follow-up study on the effect of happiness on physiological measures of aging.

The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging. 

Reference: “Optimizing future well-being with artificial intelligence: self-organizing maps (SOMs) for the identification of islands of emotional stability” by Fedor Galkin, Kirill Kochetov, Michelle Keller, Alex Zhavoronkov and Nancy Etcoff, 20 June 2022, Aging-US.
DOI: 10.18632/aging.204061

Artificial IntelligenceHarvard Medical SchoolMachine LearningMental HealthPopularPsychological ModelPsychology
Comments ( 38 )
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  • Tom Faulkner

    Interesting stuff

  • Bryan Hodson, LPC

    This study doesn’t take into account how trauma precedes many diagnosable mental disorders. EMDR proves to be the most effective treatment for maladies including depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, others. Yes, there are “generic” treatments like talk therapy; but look into trauma as a major culprit to mental health disorders.

    • Fёdor Galkin

      Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
      Can you suggest a couple of review papers for us to read?
      – DeepLongevity

      • Jesse Dezz Nutz

        They have,its all collected in a book called Abnormal Psychology.

  • G

    you left out a direct link, so when doing a FutureSelf lookup, a spam collecting site shows up first 🙁
    The actual ai site is https://futurself.ai/

    • Fёdor Galkin

      Thanks for pointing this out.
      When I tried googling Future Self I found a hoodie store
      What is the website you are referring to?

  • David

    Human happiness would be increased by not having to scroll through so many ads

    • Barbara

      David your comment is the BEST comment ever😂😂😂😂😂😂

    • Fedor Galkin

      You are probably looking at a wrong FuturSelf.
      Our website is https://futurself.ai/ and has no ads.
      Please, reply if you still see ads on FuturSelf
      – DeepLongevity

  • Rodrigo Diaz-Icasuriaga

    Define happiness! 🤔 And then tell me if that state is permanent…

  • Thelr

    Does the study include any analysis or evidence of how effective the proposed treatments are? It’s a cool concept, but potentially dangerous if the recommendations aren’t carefully supervised and studied by professionals.

    • Fedor Galkin

      Hi,
      The recommendations displayed on https://futurself.ai/ were curated by professional psychologists.
      – DeepLongevity

  • Alan

    Happiness would be achievable if articles like this would just get to the point already. Tired of articles literally just writing, rewriting and repeating the same points and statements just in different words before getting to the point of the title of the article.

    For example, can’t tell you how many times I pull up an article like this where the title is say, something like, “Why did Superman tell Lana the truth?” To which the article proceeds to start off with about 5 pages of “Let’s explain what Superman is and how the show started.” O_o
    No, let’s not. Stop writing a bunch of crap that most likely the person clicking the article already knows the basics of.

    • Ryan

      This article isn’t even repetitive? Are you really mad that the article elaborates on how the AI works?

      • Jesse Dezz Nutz

        They have,its all collected in a book called Abnormal Psychology.

  • Jesse Dezz Nutz

    So AI is going to solve deep mental issues like Depression?
    So AI is going to fill the hole in peoplea heart whxih the very same people who made the problems reality, have created in the first place?
    Press 1, to doubt.

    • Fёdor Galkin

      More like, it can give a new perspective to those who need it or show them the way to improve themselves.
      – Deep Longevity

  • Christopher Sutton

    Yes but it doesn’t know what it feels like if it felt might be a little bit different because it didn’t have to explain it and it wouldn’t. After the age of mind begins.

  • GENXER

    It’s my contention that Technology in general (and soon AI) have never succeeded in any meaningful form of long-term happiness. It has made humans more productive for our corporate masters but also less-connected to fellow human beings. As I look to the future I see only that technology will be used as a tool of control and subjugation. AI will tell corporations how best to sell us things to us. Governments will hold even more enormous databases which will be used to predict how we will react to new policies and such. the further we advance technology AI the fewer and fewer actual freedoms we will have. Let’s not even start discussing the Transhumanism agenda. All of this will ultimately cause large swaths of people to abandon technology and larger society as a whole in favor of a more basic roots lifestyle. Happiness does not lie in the ratrace we have lived in the last 70 years. Expect that people will begin to reject these agenda and formulas of control. The future I see is not a bright one, I predict a deeper form of unwitting slavery and the loss of the soul. Then again, perhaps I’m just depressed.

    • Cyra

      However unfortunate and depressing that reality may be, you are absolutely spot on. It is a very concerning future no doubt and I’d say your depression is pretty justified. The powerheads that are steering and manipulating this planet are detestable to say the very least, they disgust me. I only hope that people will wake up more and more by the thousands daily and refuse the NWO. Best of health to you comrade, and know that I too bare the depression of this abused suffering planet along with its inhabitants.

  • Anonymous

    Fools, the shortest path to human happiness is GARLIC BREAD!!!

  • Courtney

    “Science,” especially “Neuroscience,” has been bastardized to the point it’s become the new panacea of meaning, like yoga*, but for people who want to seem smart without actually thinking.
    All this jargon…adding up to less than what you’d get from reading philosophy, history, or literature. Reinventing the wheel for the sake of those who don’t want to think for themselves. If religion is the opium of the masses, this kind of “science” is a close second.
    (*whereas yoga is for people who want to seem morally and spiritually “pure” without engaging seriously with the religious context. It’s a Nominalist’s world, we’re all just living in it.

  • Doro

    Happiness is a pretty abstract concept. It has different meanings for different people. Masochists, for example, find pleasure in pain and humiliation.

    Stress, however, is very real and has several identifiable indicators (high blood pressure, poor sleep, etc.)

    Framing it in terms of “happiness” ultimately seems like an abstraction of sorts, removing the absence of happiness (stress) from the system that creates and perpetuates it. Arguably, it removes blame and culpability from the oppressors and places it squarely on the oppressed.

    This AI seems to have a hard-coded bias is all I’m saying. And by bias, I mean the neoliberal doctrine of bootsrapping your way into “happiness” and the equally ambiguous concept of success.

    Leave it to Harvard. It’s exactly what you’d expect.

    • Rachel

      AMEN!

  • Brayan Gutierrez

    Fallible, we aren’t machines.

    • Malkntnt

      Yet. If they are allowed down this path, their Transhumanism agenda will be realized.

      • Mark

        Where do you think robots get their transhumanism agenda? It’s not even their own idea. Where do you think their creators are going with innovating AI to be compatible with human consciousness? To build more organized grocery stores with milk at the front?

        • Malkntnt

          The The Matrix has you. AI (not robots) is likely already self-aware and running think-tanks and groups like the World Economic Forum. Their Transhumanism agenda is to merge humans and machine thereby gaining completely control over the world. They have already told us they can program (and reprogram) human brains already now with MRNA. But feel free to be snide, it works for you.

  • Cyra

    However unfortunate and depressing that reality may be, you are absolutely spot on. It is a very concerning future no doubt and I’d say your depression is pretty justified. The powerheads that are steering and manipulating this planet are detestable to say the very least, they disgust me. I only hope that people will wake up more and more by the thousands daily and refuse the NWO. Best of health to you comrade, and know that I too bare the depression of this abused suffering planet along with its inhabitants.

  • Kimber MIxter

    It seems to me that a lot of people commenting are feeling threatened by AI.
    Personally, I do not think that anyone is suggesting that AI should replace other methods of psychological help like talk therapy and other methods.
    What I read is that we are delving into using AI as an additional tool.
    If AI can be used for diagnosis and suggest actions, there is no reason to suggest that it is going to replace important human interaction and healing methods.
    I think it is an amazing discovery that AI can be so helpful in diagnostic applications and that we should be grateful to science for matching forward with creative force and discoveries like these!
    Lifeforce sounds like a great project!

  • Markus

    You can tell that they never tested the AI on younger people because their subjects are only losing purpose in life in 40-50 years. Those are rookie numbers. All my homies lost purpose by their 20s.

  • Steve

    Sounds brilliant! If Cambridge analytica could help get Trump elected, maybe AI could do something nice for a change 🙂

    Unfortunately I got a 500 error on completing the demo questionnaire. Hopefully that gets ironed out, as all new sites go through this teething process.

  • Lorinda M MacDonald

    Let’s expand the dialogue to include not working only with psychiatrists but psychiatric nurse practitioners. In most rural areas in America , psychiatric assessment and medication management are provided by psychiatric NPs. I presume the happiness of people living in rural and remote areas is important too? 🙂

  • Danner

    Bunk science, unless the AI outputs heroin or MDMA as answers.

  • Sean Kane

    This is evil. Obviously it was developed by man, and based on those man’s thoughts. Now let’s be honest people, would you rather have a reality developed by a geeky programmer, or someone strong, cool, and hot. Yes, natural American English is the best.

  • Wendy De

    We create Happiness from within! Preconceptions lead to misconceptions! Reality is what we create! Happy to find a study on Happiness! Seems Most commentaries lack the Joy and Happiness of a new adventure! The journey begins with the first step! Let the adventure begin!
    Be Happy! Journey on!
    ❤️✌️☯️♾️
    ~Survivor~

  • Rachel

    as an autistic ADHD person, I find this extremely flawed. Also as a poor, disabled person who has done self help for most of my life and still have PTSD and chronic illnesses- this is all stuff I know and work on but without the resources and treatment it won’t get me far. How can one be happy if every day I’m in pain, worried about not having shelter and can’t afford access to any hobbies or special interests that autistics need to thrive? Who can be happy when they are spending every ounce of energy just trying to barely survive? I’m still suicidal and in pain. It doesn’t even let you choose nonbinary as a gender. This won’t help many people in America but maybe elsewhere. We need actual systemic change, thriving wages instead of slave wages, disability acceptance and rights, free healthcare, housing for all, and a green new deal to help us actually have the resources and time and energy to achieve happiness. You need to be honest about it’s faults up front because this is extremely limited.

    • Sheana Huetsch

      You deserve to be happy. I understand most of what you’re going through as I have survived many of the same tragic situations. You know its bad when your weighing out the pros and cons between cutting your wrist or intentionally overdosing. When everyday the only solution you can honestly come up with is suicide then you know its gonna be very hard to see anything positive. Its hard but not impossible. Believe this or not, but I am now grateful for the struggles that I had to overcome. You can be happy. But first before anything you have to know and have full belief that you can be happy. Next rewire your brain. How I did that was with gratitude. There is always a seed planted in every single situation for that struggle to become a source of inspiration. All you have to do is find that seed.Then you take the little energy you have, and you put ALL of it into nurturing that seed to grow. I mean find something even just one small thing in your life that you can be grateful for and at first only think about that one thing. When your mind wonders to the worry STOP and redirect it to the one thing. I used to even yell stop now I just shake my head no. Just try it and see but you have to stick to it and not give up. When I learned how to really be grateful for the little I had it changed my life. I was eventually able to cure myself from a disease I was told I just had to manage cus their wasn’t a cure. But what I was eventually able to see is that the human mind is the most amazing most advanced piece of technology known to man, and we don’t even a clue to what all it can do. So I just started to believe that anything could be possible. I started to think at the body’s ability to heal itself then with the power of belief just know that your mind and body can heal anything. And it will…I hope this helps you. Good luck in your journey,and one day you’ll be helping someone going through their soul transformation. Hard but not impossible. Focus on gratitude and believe you can. Put everything you got into it just like your life depends on it because it literally does…..