In a powerful exploration of identity and justice, Argentine publicist Santiago Barros is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to uncover the faces of those who were stolen during Argentina’s military dictatorship. As a response to the significant void in photographs of the missing children, Barros utilizes an app called Midjourney to generate images of what these grown children might look like today.
Barros shares these poignant images on his Instagram account, iabuelas, named after the well-known activist group Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. This group has spent over four decades tirelessly searching for the missing children of political dissidents who were taken during the dark period of Argentina’s history from 1976 to 1983. The dictatorship, marked by systematic theft and forced disappearances, saw babies taken from their parents and placed with families aligned with or connected to the regime.
By combining photos of the missing fathers and mothers from the Grandmothers’ public archive, Barros utilizes AI to generate potential images of their children. The app presents four possibilities for each combination, two male and two female, from which Barros selects the most realistic representation for each gender.
It is crucial to emphasize that Barros’ project does not aim to replace the DNA testing efforts led by the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo. Rather, it serves as a reminder to individuals over the age of 46 who may harbor doubts about their origins, sparking their conscience and raising awareness. It highlights the dedicated work of the grandmothers and the more than 133 grandchildren that have been successfully reunited with their families through genetic analysis.
While the Grandmothers appreciate Barros’ initiative, they stress that DNA testing remains the only infallible tool to establish the true identities of these missing individuals. The National Genetic Data Bank, established in 1987 with the Grandmothers’ advocacy, continues to carry out this crucial process.
Santiago Barros’ use of AI technology and collaboration with the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo shines a light on the ongoing quest to reclaim stolen identities. Ultimately, it is a poignant reminder of the unwavering determination and hope that drives the search for justice and reunification.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How many children were taken during Argentina’s military dictatorship?
The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo estimate that around 500 children were snatched from their parents during the dictatorship.
2. What tool is indispensable in reuniting these children with their families?
DNA testing remains the only infallible tool to link these individuals with their families of origin. The National Genetic Data Bank, established in 1987, continues to carry out this vital testing.
3. How many grandchildren have been successfully reunited with their families so far?
The Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo have located and reunited over 133 grandchildren through genetic analysis.