IC7 – Ethics of AI in Psychiatry

Lecturer: Wanja Wiese
Fields: Philosophy


Digital methods and machine learning are increasingly used in psychiatry. AI applications can facilitate the early detection and diagnosis of mental health problems, therapeutic practice is complemented by videoconferencing and texting, and methods from computational neuroscience are being applied to research in clinical psychiatry. The resulting digital and computational psychiatry has great potential to benefit patients. Apart from that, it may transform the way we think about diagnosis, treatment, and the very concept of a mental disorder. This raises philosophical and ethical questions.
In this talk I will first present some practical and theoretical problems in psychiatry. I will then review how digital and computational methods, including AI, promise to contribute to solutions to these problems, and will discuss associated philosophical and ethical problems.


  • Fiske, A., Henningsen, P., & Buyx, A. (2019). Your Robot Therapist Will See You Now: Ethical Implications of Embodied Artificial Intelligence in Psychiatry, Psychology, and Psychotherapy. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(5), e13216. https://doi.org/10.2196/13216
  • Starke, G., De Clercq, E., Borgwardt, S., & Elger, B. S. (2020). Computing schizophrenia: Ethical challenges for machine learning in psychiatry. Psychological Medicine, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291720001683
  • Uusitalo, S., Ma, J. T., & Arstila, V. (2020). Mapping out the philosophical questions of AI and clinical practice in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13485
  • Wiese, W. (accepted). Von der KI-Ethik zur Bewusstseinsethik: Ethische Aspekte der Computational Psychiatry. [From the Ethics of AI to the Ethics of Consciousness: Ethical Aspects of Computational Psychiatry.] Psychiatrische Praxis.


Wanja Wiese received his PhD at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. His research focuses on consciousness and philosophical problems in cognitive science. He is editor-in-chief of the open-access journal Philosophy and the Mind Sciences (https://www.philosophymindscience.org).

Affiliation: Department of Philosophy, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Homepage: https://www.philosophie.fb05.uni-mainz.de/wiese/english/
Twitter: @wawiese