Microsoft’s Creepy Algorithm Predicts Which Teens Will Get Pregnant

(ORDO NEWS) — A few years ago, Microsoft and an Argentinean province were developing an algorithm to determine which children from low-income families would become pregnant in the near future.

In 2018, the Ministry of Early Childhood Affairs in the northern Argentine province of Salta and US tech giant Microsoft set about developing an algorithm that could determine which children from low-income families might get pregnant, according to a Wired investigation .

Described by Microsoft as “one of the pioneering use cases for AI data,” the AI ​​system used demographic data such as age, ethnicity, country of origin, and even the presence of hot water in a home to reveal which women and girls living in a small Argentine town, may become pregnant in the near future. The set included data on 12,000 Salta girls aged 10 to 20.

The algorithm, lauded on state TV channels by Governor Juan Manuel Urtubey, came at a time when the Argentine authorities were hotly discussing the decriminalization of abortion.

“ With the help of technology, you can predict with an accuracy of 86% five or six years ahead, knowing the name, surname and address, which girl – the future teenager – will be pregnant soon,” Juan Manuel Urtubey said on television.

The algorithm, called Technology Platform for Social Intervention (Technological Platform for Social Intervention), turned out to be extremely “opaque”. First of all, because the Argentine authorities have not officially commented on the use of AI and its impact on women.

Second, as Wired reports, the program included the work of so-called “territorial agents” who followed people whom the AI ​​​​selected as future pregnant women. These people visited the homes of the girls and women in question, asked questions, took photos, and recorded the location using GPS.

It is still unknown what the Argentine authorities did with the data and whether the rollout of the program was linked to discussions about the decriminalization of abortion in the country.

Argentina eventually decriminalized abortion in 2020, a major breakthrough for a country with a long history of population control measures.

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