In one of the most WTF uses of artificial technology yet, Microsoft has created one of the most bizarre algorithms ever. In an effort to show off its advancements in AI, the computer software company has crafted an AI to predict the impregnation of teenage girls. Yeah, bet you wish you never read that.
Microsoft AI predicts specific teenage pregnancy
Via Wired, Microsoft presented an AI algorithm to the Argentinian Congress back in 2018 that could predict teenage pregnancies. Presented during a period when the government was debating the decriminalisation of abortion, the tech giant created an AI forged in the fires of dystopia.
The algorithm was developed to predict the lines of lower-income “future teens”. Microsoft’s AI would take the name and addresses of preteen girls and predict the next “five or six years” of their lives.
Microsoft's data would be used to determine which girls were “86% predestined to have an adolescent pregnancy”. The AI’s database was built on the data of “200,000 residents in the city of Salta, including 12,000 women and girls between the ages of 10 and 19.”
Wired reports that the tech giant sent “territorial agents” to citizens’ houses to question them, including young girls. These agents asked questions, took photos and recorded GPS locations of the participants.
The surveys consisted of low-income families in Argentina. Additionally, a large section of the database consisted of migrant families that moved to the region from places such as South America.
This is viewed as a success
The Microsoft pregnancy prediction algorithm is viewed as a success by the company. According to the report, spokespeople for the company claimed that the Argentinian project was “one of the pioneering cases in the use of AI data”.
That may indeed be the case. However, it's also an example of AI algorithms being used in an incredibly creepy and dangerous way. Additionally, talk of this algorithm has been kept on the down low, likely because its an off-putting foray into eugenics for the Big Tech company.
Even now, years after its inception, there's no word on whether or not the project has been terminated. Additionally, there's no data on what the Argentinian government is planning to do with the girls that have been marked for “predestined” teenage pregnancies.
Only one update has happened since the use of this algorithm: abortion has been decriminalised in Argentina. This means that those who do end up facing teenage pregnancy have a way out if they choose to. However, we don't know if Microsoft's systems affected this change or not.