Home Tech News How AI App Visualizes Stolen Babies from Argentina’s Dictatorship Era

How AI App Visualizes Stolen Babies from Argentina’s Dictatorship Era

Posted: October 5, 2023

Argentine Publicist and AI: A Unique Initiative

Santiago Barrios, an Argentine art director, has initiated a unique project that uses artificial intelligence. He scans through the website of the human rights organization Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, searching for the faces of couples who were disappeared by the Argentine Military Dictatorship. Using this data, he enables AI to visualize what the babies stolen by the dictatorship during the 1976-1983 period might look like today.

Unveiling the Past: AI Visualizing Today's Faces of Then-Stolen Babies

Barrios combines the photos of the disappeared mothers and fathers extracted from a public database, intending to create faces of what their children may look like as adults in the present day. The project touches upon a dark era of Argentine history where about 500 children were kidnapped from their mothers—opponents of the then regime—were often killed after they gave birth; these children were put up for adoption, often being placed with senior military figures or their close circles.

Reverberating Issues from Past Dictatorship

This year marks 40 years since the end of the dictatorship, which ruled from 1976 until 1983 and sanctioned actions such as the invasion of the Falkland Islands. However, the issues and consequences of their actions during their reign continue to reverberate deeply into present-day Argentina. Notably, only 133 of the children abducted have been tracked down and united with surviving parents or grandparents, which means there's still a vast number of individuals separated from their original biological families.

The Power of AI in Shedding Light on Human Rights Issues

The ground-breaking work of Santiago Barrios not only brings new hope to many families searching for their lost ones but also showcases the potential of contemporary technologies like AI in addressing historical human rights abuses. By predicting what the stolen babies would look like as adults, AI opens up new ways for human rights organizations and initiatives to find and repatriate these individuals back to their biological families.

The Artificial Intelligence App: A Close Insight

This innovative artificial intelligence application, used by Santiago Barrios, is central to this search venture. Its primary function revolves around utilizing pre-existing data of disappeared parents to construct minute, probable, physical details about their offspring - the children stolen by the Argentine military dictatorship during the 1976-1983.

The Technology Behind the AI App

The application employs advanced AI algorithms specially designed for facial recognition, pattern analysis, and aging simulation. It leverages these machine learning principles to gather information from the provided photos, identify the distinct facial features of the disappeared parents, and predict, based on genetic possibility, similar features that their offspring might inherit. It then uses an aging simulation to visualize what these stolen babies might look like as adults.

How the App Functions to Visualize Appearances

The app works by piecing together the facial data from the photographs of the disappeared couples. It considers their unique features to establish some form of a genetic combination. Using simulation tools, the app then "grows" these genetic combinations, simulating a baby's face into an adult. It helps provide a possible contemporary representation of these individuals who were stolen during the country's dictatorship era.

Understanding the Context of Argentina's Dictatorship

The period of Argentina's dictatorship, spanning seven years from 1976 to 1983, was marked by extreme violations of human rights, profound societal fear, and widescale disappearances. One of the cruelest practices during this time was systematically removing and appropriating babies from families who opposed the regime.

The Period of Argentina's Dictatorship: 1976-1983

In 1976, a right-wing military coup took control of Argentina, leading to a brutal regime until 1983. The military dictatorship was infamous for its tactics of forced disappearance, with around 30,000 people vanishing during this period. As part of the regime's totalitarian grip, they attempted to eliminate potential future opposition by abducting the children of their dissidents, erasing their identities, and raising them within families supportive of the regime.

The Harrowing Act of Stealing Babies during the Dictatorship

It is estimated that the dictatorship stole around 500 babies throughout their rule. Their mothers, typically opponents of the regime, were often killed after giving birth. The babies were then placed into pseudo-adoptions with families deeply aligned with the military dictatorship, many belonging to senior military officers or their allies. However, despite decades having passed since the fall of the dictatorship, only around 133 of these children have been identified and reunited with their biological families, signifying this despicable act's profound, enduring impact.

Impact of AI Visualization on Victims and Families

The act of revealing what the stolen babies might look like today can profoundly impact the victims and their families. For those directly affected, it may bring a sense of closure and reconnect fragmented familial bonds. It paints a visual narrative, helping individuals deprived of their roots to retrace their origins. At the same time, it might bring about mixed emotions, as it also serves as a stark reminder of the traumatic past.

The Potential of AI in Unearthing Similar Cases

AI shows immense potential in addressing similar cases involving human rights abuses, whether they pertain to forced disappearances, child abductions, or mass displacements. Given that similar cases have occurred in numerous contexts around the globe, the implications of this technology are indeed far-reaching. By accurately predicting what individuals might look like in the present day, the technology can assist in finding and repatriating them to their families, creating a ripple effect that can help alleviate historical injustices and bring comfort to those affected.