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AI may discriminate against parents with disabilities, new investigation shows

Andrew Hackney hands his 1-year-old daughter back to the Office of Children, Youth and Families services at the end of one of their twice weekly supervised visits. At 7 months old, Andrew and his wife, Lauren, had difficulty feeding their daughter and brought her to the children's hospital in Pittsburgh. They believe hospital staff alerted the Allegheny County Department of Human Services because the baby was severely dehydrated and malnourished, which resulted in removing the young child from their custody. The Hackneys and their lawyer believe the Allegheny County Family Screening artificial intelligence tool may have flagged the couple as dangerous because of their disabilities. (Jessie Wardarski/AP)
Andrew Hackney hands his 1-year-old daughter back to the Office of Children, Youth and Families services at the end of one of their twice weekly supervised visits. At 7 months old, Andrew and his wife, Lauren, had difficulty feeding their daughter and brought her to the children's hospital in Pittsburgh. They believe hospital staff alerted the Allegheny County Department of Human Services because the baby was severely dehydrated and malnourished, which resulted in removing the young child from their custody. The Hackneys and their lawyer believe the Allegheny County Family Screening artificial intelligence tool may have flagged the couple as dangerous because of their disabilities. (Jessie Wardarski/AP)

A new investigation is shedding light on how an artificial intelligence tool may be discriminating against parents with disabilities. The U.S. Justice Department is now getting involved. It’s looking into how the child welfare system in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, uses AI to predict which children could be at risk of harm.

Here & Now‘s Deepa Fernandes speaks with Garance Burke, a global investigative journalist at the Associated Press who worked on the story.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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