Beth Semel
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Beth Semel

Beth’s research explores how new, artificial intelligence enabled technologies are not only reshaping the field and practice of mental health care in the United States, but also destabilizing basic assumptions about the way language works and the relationship between mind, brain, listening, and speaking.

Her dissertation project investigates collaborations between engineers, computer scientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and neuroscientists to develop and implement technology that can assist in the detection, classification, and treatment of mental illness. Unlike the conventional, semantic-centered diagnostic tools employed in Euro-American psychiatry and psychology, this technology is designed to correlate non-semantic features of speech with inner, psychological states at a level of specificity that exceeds the human sensorium. Through studying researchers' efforts to build this vocal-diagnostic technology, she interrogates ideologies of linguistic opacity and transparency, agency and intentionality, care and control, illness, expertise, and machine intelligence.

Key words

linguistic anthropology, anthropology of science and technology, sound studies, mental health care, diagnostics, listening and speaking, voice, expertise, human-machine relations



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