AI Creates Images of Disappeared Children of Argentina’s Dictatorship Victims: Stirring Conscience and Raising Awareness

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AI Creates Images of Disappeared Children of Argentina’s Dictatorship Victims: Stirring Conscience and Raising Awareness

Argentine publicist Santiago Barros has embarked on a project that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to create images of what the children of parents who disappeared during Argentina’s military dictatorship might look like as adults. This initiative aims to raise awareness about the systematic theft of babies that occurred during the country’s bloody dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.

Military officials carried out the abduction of babies from political dissidents who were detained, executed, and disposed of without a trace. The stolen babies were raised by families connected to the dictatorship or those with aligned ideologies. As a result, many of these children do not know their true identity.

To address this issue, Barros employs an app called Midjourney. He combines photos of the disappeared fathers and mothers from the public archive of the well-known activist group Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, which searches for missing children. By creating images of what these stolen children might look like as adults, Barros seeks to provide a face for those who have been deprived of their true identity.

Every day, Barros shares these images on an Instagram account called iabuelas, a combination of the Spanish words for artificial intelligence (IA) and grandmother (abuela). The goal is to reach individuals over the age of 46 who may have doubts about their origin and to remind the public about the tireless efforts of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in locating these children for more than four decades.

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The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo estimates that approximately 500 children were snatched from their parents during the dictatorship. Over the years, the group has been able to locate 133 grandchildren through DNA testing. While they appreciate Barros’ initiative for raising awareness, they emphasize the importance of DNA testing as the only infallible method for reuniting these individuals with their families.

Barros’s project supplements the Grandmothers’ efforts by providing visual representations of what the stolen children might look like. Although some have questioned the accuracy of the images, families searching for their lost relatives have been astonished by the resemblances they discovered between the AI-generated images and their blood relatives.

One such individual is Matias Ayastuy, who reached out to Barros with photos of his disappeared parents. His mother, Marta Bugnone, was kidnapped when she was pregnant in 1977. The AI tool combined images of Bugnone and his father, Jorge Ayastuy, resulting in remarkable similarities between the generated image and Ayastuy’s cousin.

While there haven’t been any confirmed instances of adults recognizing themselves in the images and starting a formal identification process, Barros’s project serves as a visual reminder of the ongoing search for these missing children.

Although the AI campaign provides a simulation of what the children might look like, it is crucial to recognize that each person is more than just a combination of their parents’ features. Foreign applications such as these are based on the genotypes of their respective populations, so the results may not be entirely accurate.

Barros acknowledges the limitations of the AI tool, but highlights the fact that many of the disappeared individuals had European ancestors due to the strong immigration history in Argentina.

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This ongoing project sheds light on a dark period in Argentina’s history and aims to create consciousness and empathy for those affected by the systematic theft of babies during the dictatorship. While the visual representations may not be perfect, Barros’s initiative serves as an emotional reminder of the search for these missing children and their rightful identities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What is the purpose of using AI to create images of the disappeared children of Argentina's dictatorship victims?

The purpose is to raise awareness about the systematic theft of babies that occurred during Argentina's military dictatorship and to provide a visual representation of what these stolen children might look like as adults.

How does the AI tool work in creating these images?

The AI tool combines photos of the disappeared parents from the public archive of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo activist group. By analyzing the features of the parents, the tool generates an image that simulates what their stolen children might look like as adults.

Are the AI-generated images considered accurate representations of the stolen children?

The accuracy of the images has been questioned, as each person is more than just a combination of their parents' features. The AI tool is based on the genotypes of the population, which may not be entirely accurate in representing individual appearances.

Has anyone recognized themselves or their lost relatives in the AI-generated images?

While there haven't been any confirmed instances of adults recognizing themselves in the images and starting a formal identification process, families searching for their lost relatives have been astonished by the resemblances they discovered between the AI-generated images and their blood relatives.

How many stolen children are estimated to have been taken during the dictatorship?

The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo estimates that approximately 500 children were snatched from their parents during Argentina's military dictatorship.

How successful have the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo been in locating these stolen children?

Over the years, the group has been able to locate 133 grandchildren through DNA testing. While they appreciate the AI initiative for raising awareness, they emphasize the importance of DNA testing as the only infallible method for reuniting these individuals with their families.

What is the significance of the Instagram account iabuelas?

The Instagram account iabuelas, which combines the Spanish words for artificial intelligence (IA) and grandmother (abuela), is used by Santiago Barros to share the AI-generated images of the stolen children. The goal is to reach individuals over the age of 46 who may have doubts about their origin and to remind the public about the ongoing efforts of the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo in locating these children.

Is the AI project supported by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo?

While the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo appreciate Barros' initiative for raising awareness, they emphasize the importance of DNA testing as the primary method for reuniting these stolen children with their families. The AI project supplements their efforts by providing visual representations of what the stolen children might look like.

What is the ultimate goal of the AI project?

The ultimate goal is to create consciousness and empathy for those affected by the systematic theft of babies during Argentina's military dictatorship and to remind the public of the ongoing search for these missing children and their rightful identities. The AI-generated images serve as a visual reminder of this ongoing search.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

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