Photo/IllutrationInformation and photos of injuries of an abused child can be analyzed by the AI system. (Provided by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

TSU--Child consultation centers in Mie Prefecture will test an artificial intelligence-based system that is designed to help determine if children should be placed in temporary protective custody to save them from their abusive parents.

The trial run will start in late June using a system developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture. It will be the first such experiment conducted by a local government in Japan.

The AIST announced the development on May 28 at a time when a number of children have died after remaining with abusive parents or guardians despite signs of violence at their homes.

In the trial, center officials will enter basic information, such as the children’s ages and their family members, into tablet computers during consultations. Other information entered will include risk evaluations in 19 categories, like “whether there are bruises on the head, face or stomach.”

The AI system will then calculate the probable recurrence rate of abuse, the days officials need to hold consultations--and the necessity of temporary protective custody--based on a prefectural government database containing six years of information from child consultation centers.

The system can also show reasons for high probable recurrence rates and present similar cases from the past.

After considering the AI’s assessments, center officials will make a final judgment on whether to place children in temporary protective custody.

“Being short-handed, the officials can pour more energy into high-risk cases because AI will help them make prompt judgments,” Kota Takaoka, an AIST researcher, said.

The Mie prefectural government will equip two child consultation centers with a total of 20 tablet computers. Base on the trial, which will last for about eight months, the prefecture will decide if the AI assistance eases the burden on center officials and provides proper evaluations on the children’s cases.

The prefecture also plans to take and save photos of children’s injuries. Future development of the AI system will allow it to analyze the photographs and determine if the injuries were caused by abuse.