The Story of the Controversial Algorithm Developed by Microsoft that Predicts Which Teens Will Get Pregnant


An algorithm developed by Microsoft in 2018 was able to predict which teens were most likely to get pregnant. Let’s take a closer look at the story of the controversial research of the period
Pregnancy and childbirth is a process that scares many women, but technologies continue to be developed every day to provide more painless delivery methods and to make us more comfortable during pregnancy. For pregnancies that occur unconsciously or unintentionally, women resort to abortion, which many states consider a ‘crime’.

The algorithm developed by Microsoft in 2018 has caused a lot of controversy in recent years. According to the research, it was announced which young people are more likely to become pregnant in the future with the algorithm developed by Microsoft. According to research conducted in Argentina, young people’s age and low income were said to be a big factor in their probability of getting pregnant.

A lot of data was analyzed, including whether there is ‘hot water in the bathroom of the house’ of young people
This algorithm, developed by Microsoft, examined which young people living in Argentina’s Salta province may be more likely to become pregnant in the future. The algorithm, which Microsoft calls “one of the leading cases in the use of artificial intelligence”, looked at some data to identify young people who are most likely to become pregnant. Among these data used, age, ethnicity, disability, country of origin were included.

The research, which is based on data from approximately 200,000 women and girls living in the city of Salta, brought about many discussions in those years. According to Wired’s report, the homes of the women and girls in question were visited, their photos were taken, survey questions were administered, and their GPS locations were even recorded. Many of those subject to these surveillances were people who had migrated from Bolivia and other parts of South America, while the remainder were from the indigenous Wichi, Qulla, and Guarani communities. The common point of the majority was that they were poor.

With this algorithmic system, which they named ‘Technology Platform for Social Intervention’, it was predicted that 86 percent of adolescent girls would become pregnant. This algorithm, which can predict the names of girls who will be pregnant five or six years in advance, was praised on national television at that time. Abortion was decriminalized in Argentina 2 years after this research, which sparked debates about the legalization of abortion in Argentina.

This practice, which makes predictions about which young girl can become pregnant in the future by knowing people’s names, surnames and addresses, is still being discussed today. It has never been clarified what impact the labeling of a girl’s or woman’s pregnancy as ‘predetermined’ will have on that person’s life, or what action might be taken regarding the pregnancies of teenage girls.