As psychiatrists begin to implement digital surveillance technologies in routine patient care, they must grapple with new sorts of issues in patient trust and information security. These anticipated changes in mental health care will deploy large-scale information infrastructure from global technology and telecommunications companies (e.g., cloud services, iOS and Google developer platforms) in order to help facilitate psychiatric treatments, mental health assessments and clinical psychiatric research on an unprecedented scale. Beyond the basic security risks of relying on complex data ecosystems to transmit sensitive patient information about mental health and illness, new technologies also present a new set of trust issues amongst patients, physicians and the vast technical systems which might mediate future patient-physician relationships. My research explores the relationships among mental health, technology and society, as well as the various cultural pressures for introducing automation technologies and technological “black boxes” into an imagined information infrastructure that might be oriented toward care.
My projects on psychiatry’s technology development have so far focused on how cultural anxieties about invasive information collection and speculative neuro-technologies become entangled in questions of clinical ethics, new dimensions of psychiatric symptomology, and the construction of information infrastructure itself.