They save people on Weibo

The temperature of the codes comes from the person who knocked them down.

Before 1993, no one knew who you were on the Internet. 

That year, the cartoonist Peter Shi Turner with a very forward-looking shocked the world of comics, cartoons with text, is: “In the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” 

Twenty-eight years later, the Internet has developed to the present. The network platform not only masters your user information, but also portrays accurate portraits of people based on your data about every time you browse, like, speak, and interact . Day study how to use human weaknesses, how to use big data “kill mature” Internet companies have become more than you know you are . 

However, at the same time, there are such a group of people “outside the industry” who use cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to save lives through a series of seemingly inconspicuous Weibo tweets and comments. 

A tortuous “rescue”

One night in July 2018, Jiang Xingpeng’s cell phone rang. 

In a WeChat group chat called “Medical Artificial Intelligence Group” , a rescue message appeared. It is said that a college student named Wu Shuang (a pseudonym) was about to cut his wrist and commit suicide. 

“I live so big nobody has sent me flowers, the boys with me in together just want to play a game, no one really loves me. I am the person that is so bad, I do not deserve to live in this world.” This is The latest message from Wu Shuang’s Weibo account. 

The people in the group speculate that the girls are not feeling well. Continue to dig, they found a phone number, suspected to be the girl’s ex-boyfriend, and pieced together the girl’s approximate location in Shandong. 

There are two channels for contacting girls. One is to find Wu Shuang through his ex-boyfriend; the other is through the local public security bureau. The second plan was quickly rejected, and the Public Security Bureau refused to open the case because of incomplete alarm information. 

There is only one plan left, but the call has been unable to get through. The people in the group did not give up, and finally got through when it was almost dawn. The boy only wanted to reveal the girl’s school. 

“That school happened to have my friend over there, so I found the girl’s counselor’s phone number through him.” Jiang Xingpeng recalled that the girl was found on the roof of the campus just before dawn. All safe. 

Jiang Xingpeng is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Central China Normal University. He joined the “Medical Artificial Intelligence Group” accidentally because of his research in biomedical artificial intelligence. He thought that this rescue was just an accident, but he didn’t expect to be “tethered” with it afterwards. 

“Tree Hole” Rescue Team

At 4 o’clock in the morning, the messages in the “tree hole” were still being updated frequently. 

“Want to die” and “Are there any appointments to die together?” are almost frequent sentences in “Tree Hole”. 

For commenters, the “tree hole” is a secret channel for talking. Usually, when a depressed patient commits suicide, his Weibo will become a “tree hole” for other depressed patients to express their hearts. There are many such “tree holes”, and some of the larger “tree holes” can reach millions of comments on a single Weibo, and people with a tendency to commit suicide gather here tacitly. 

They save people on Weibo

According to the World Health Organization, almost every 20 seconds in China, one person commits suicide due to depression. The next person to commit suicide may be someone who just left a message. 

Someone wants to prevent this from happening. 

The rescue information that Jiang Xingpeng received in the medical artificial intelligence group was actually transferred from the “Operation Tree Hole Rescue Team.” 

Someone has developed an artificial intelligence robot to monitor the “tree hole”, analyze a large number of comments and messages, and then screen out people with suicidal tendencies and rank them. The tree hole robot will periodically give out tree hole monitoring notifications every day. After that, the information will be sent to a WeChat group called “Operation Tree Hole Rescue Team”. 

The members of the “Tree Hole Operation Rescue Team” come from all corners of the country and gather many scholars, doctors, and entrepreneurs in the field of medical AI in China. They discuss the information in the tree hole monitoring report every day, lock down those who have suicidal tendencies, and then as far as possible find the relatives and friends around the person concerned, give early warning and take corresponding rescue actions. 

From the end of July 2018 to the end of June 2021, the Tree Hole Rescue Team has provided assistance to 14,617 people with a high risk of suicide and prevented 4,765 suicides. 

The initiator of the tree hole rescue operation is Huang Zhisheng. He is a tenured professor in the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 

“I have been working in Amsterdam for over 30 years, a direct research study artificial intelligence.” Zhisheng Huang said that since 2008, the team where he began with the domestic team semantic technology to carry out scientific research cooperation. With the continuous deepening of research, scientific research has moved from the theoretical level to the specific application level, one of which is depression. 

They save people on Weibo

Huang Zhisheng, founder of the tree hole rescue operation 

“Since 2012, we have been paying attention to depression groups. In scientific research cooperation, we have developed an idea of ​​using AI technology to tap people in need of help in society, including suicide groups, elderly groups, etc., and have successively made some attempts. ” 

Until March 2018, Huang Zhisheng read a report on the “tree hole” on the Internet, and found that a large number of depressed people gathered in the tree hole, which gave birth to the tree hole rescue operation. Jiang Xingpeng was the first wave of participants. 

However, no one expected that the Tree Hole Rescue Team would grow from the initial dozens of people to more than 700 volunteers today. Later, what it did gradually surpassed the boundaries of “suicide intervention.” 


Regrettably, Jiang Xingpeng’s first rescue did not come to a successful conclusion. 

When the rescue team contacted Wu Shuang’s mother, Huang Zhisheng recalled, “Her mother didn’t think the situation was serious.” 

The members of the Tree Hole Rescue Team did not take it lightly. Several professors specially set up a “care group” and entrusted school personnel to send flowers to Wu Shuang once a week, so that she could feel care and hope. 

Wu Shuang’s condition seems to be getting better and better. She took the initiative to call the school and wanted to return to school to take the exam from her break. However, due to excessive absences, the school failed to agree. 

“Okay.” Wu Shuang was very calm. At 8 o’clock that night, she posted a message on Weibo: “Bye.” 

People in the care group understood this as a positive signal, thinking that the girl was about to start a new life . Unexpectedly, a few hours later, Wu Shuang took the medicine and killed himself. 

This caused a great impact on the members of the Tree Hole Rescue Team. Talking about this matter, Huang Zhisheng still regretted: “The first rescue taught us a bitter lesson. Her death made us realize that it is not so easy to rescue patients with depression. We later speculated that there are many stories behind her. Did not speak out.” 

The final failure of the first rescue made the Tree Hole Rescue Group pay more attention to the scientific nature of rescue. “Later we have a rescue guide, we will invite experts to train, and there are strict assessments.” Huang Zhisheng said, now volunteers who want to participate in the tree hole rescue team need to participate in 6 courses of training, and then there will be an exam Only then can you enter the “internship period” and participate in the tree hole rescue team a little bit. “During the internship, we will provide a one-year training with domestic psychological and mental health experts to give lectures. Finally, you have to write a paper to truly obtain the training certificate.” 

They save people on Weibo

The activity level of “Tree Hole” in different time periods 

The tree hole robot is also evolving, and it has been iterated to the 14th version. During the epidemic in early 2020, due to the serious situation in Wuhan, many patients sought beds online. Jiang Xingpeng, who was in Wuhan at the time, recalled that the tree hole rescue team specially upgraded the robots and began to search for those who needed help. After screening, volunteers quickly helped these people with more serious illnesses connect with hospital resources. 

After more than three years of accumulation, the influence of the Shudong Rescue Team has grown stronger and stronger. “Our starting point is to use AI technology to prevent suicide, but now many people’s expectations of us have far exceeded this.” Huang Zhisheng said. 

Not long ago, the Shudong Rescue Team launched a psychological crisis intervention training for overseas students. “The epidemic has caused a lot of psychological pressure on overseas students. The embassy people also attach great importance to this matter, so they found us.” 

As soon as the registration started, the quota was filled, “This is a huge demand that has been ignored.” In Western countries, psychological services are generally provided locally, “but mental health problems require more communication and skilled language expression skills of psychological counselors. Due to cultural and language reasons, this is not easy for Chinese students to obtain. ” 

Even many parents of students who are tired of studying come to the door, hoping to get help. “We set up a group of parents and professionals to facilitate these family together to discuss, to deal with related issues.” Zhisheng Huang said. 

Choose the misunderstood path

Saving people will also be criticized a lot. 

In December 2018, the tree hole robot detected a message: a girl left a message in the tree hole that she wanted to commit suicide by jumping off the building on January 1. 

After all the hardships, the rescue team found the contact information of the girl and her parents, but the other party did not buy it. “My daughter was fine. You must say that she is sick. Once it spreads out, there will be big problems in finding a job and finding a partner in the future.” 

Huang Zhisheng said, “We understand this, but in order to save people, we must tell the parents the severity of the matter. However, if the parents are extremely uncooperative, it will be difficult for us to do anything.” 

Most of the time, this is a thankless thing. Someone once told Huang Zhisheng that before witnessing the incident with his own eyes, he always thought it was a lie, “Now even the elderly who fell on the road are afraid to help, how can there be people who are willing to talk to people who commit suicide? On the relationship?” 

“We as a group want to tell this society that there are indeed a group of people who are not afraid to take legal risks to show the bright side of this society. Besides, we have strict training and professional mental and mental health volunteers.” According to the introduction, Zheng Zheng Volunteers during work and school usually spend 1-2 hours on this charity activity, while some retired people may devote about 10 hours a day. 

Two years ago, Huang Zhisheng discovered that many people have a tendency to commit suicide. “We only monitored two large tree holes, and every day we found 10 people on the verge of suicide, which means that about 300 people will be in urgent need of help in a month. “The number of volunteers is far from enough. He predicts that saving people will definitely become a profession in the future. 

They save people on Weibo

After being saved, people who have committed suicide usually need to change their living environment to speed up their recovery. “For this reason, a care center can be built. During the recovery process, patients can also do some simple tasks to maintain the center’s operations, such as manual data labeling. “But he later overturned this idea. “The establishment of such a care center requires start-up capital and land. We don’t raise much social donations ourselves, and currently it is more than 600,000, of which 400,000 was given to me by my sister. .” 

There have also been some psychological service agencies looking for them to establish cooperation, but each patient needs to charge 3,000 yuan per month. “Many children with depression have no income, become sick again, and leave home again. Once they are charged, it will be very difficult to deal with them.” 

“This matter is very difficult to sustain economically, and I have not thought of a good way at the moment. We all do it as a public welfare.” However, Huang Zhisheng feels that there is a huge user demand in the field of mental health, and there is a great deal “I hope that Chinese technology entrepreneurs can look at this kind of problems with enough sunshine, see this market, and use technological innovation to solve this social problem.” 

In the Tree Hole Rescue Team, there is an accepted “saving philosophy”: “We save a person, and then a dozen relatives and friends around him can avoid suffering. If more and more people in this society avoid After suffering, we will give back to the society with a more positive attitude. The society will inevitably become a better place, and it will actually be us who will benefit in the end.”


“Application of Knowledge Graph and Semantic Technology in Life Science”, Huang Zhisheng 

“The Temporal Characteristics of Suicide Information in Social Media”, Huang Zhisheng, Xie Dan, etc. 

“Tree Hole Rescue Team: Using AI to Rescue Suicides”, the health industry 

“Every life is the most beautiful notes,” tree holes rescue mission 

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