Expressions of suicidal thinking or intent should never be ignored. But what happens when a message of desperation is lost in the noise of internet chatter?
ARKHumanity – which came about at a hackathon co-sponsored by ASU – was inspired by this question and developed technology that scans Twitter for messages that suggest a risk of self-harm and connects the author with immediate support. The project has won the Arizona State University Changemaker Challenge’s top prize of $10,000 seed money.
The app was first developed in September 2014 at the Hacks4Humanity hackathon, a 36-hour event co-sponsored by ASU Project Humanities and EqualityTV. The goal of the program was to engage creative thinkers, artists, programmers, designers and anyone interested in creating technologies for the greater good. Bin Hong Lee, a software engineering major, is one of the five ARKHumanity team members. They had never met beforehand and worked together over the two-day period to develop a working prototype of the innovative technology. They also won first place in that competition.