A study conducted by two Canadian researchers has suggested that artificial intelligence (AI) could come up with better treatment recommendations for behavioral issues than professionals, according to Science Daily.

Researchers Marc Lanovaz of Université de Montréal and Kieva Hranchuk of St. Lawrence College, Ontario, have made a case for using AI in treating behavioral issues. They published their findings in the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Lanovaz said, “Medical and educational professionals frequently disagree on the effectiveness of behavioral interventions, which may cause people to receive inadequate treatment.”

The mental-health researchers compiled simulated data from more than 1,000 people receiving treatment for behavioral issues. They compared the treatment conclusions drawn in each case by five doctoral-level behavior analysts with those produced by the AI model they developed using machine learning.

Lanovaz noted, “The five professionals only came to the same conclusions approximately 75% of the time. More importantly, machine learning produced fewer decision-making errors than did all the professionals.”

Considering these positive results, Lanovaz said the next step would be to “integrate our models in an app that could automatically make decisions or provide feedback about how the treatment is progressing.”

The authors believe that the goal is to use AI to facilitate the work of professionals, not actually replace them. They also believe that AI could make treatment decisions more consistent and predictable.

Lanovaz said, “For example, doctors could someday use the technology to help them decide whether to continue or terminate the treatment of people with disorders as varied as autism, ADHD, anxiety, and depression.”

“Individualized clinical and educational decision-making is one of the cornerstones of psychological and behavioral treatment,” he added. “Our study may thus lead to better treatment options for the millions of individuals who receive these types of services worldwide.”