UK is increasingly using Minority Report-type predictive analytics or "child-abuse algorithms" to identify which children to take into care

 | David Pegg and Niamh McIntyre 09/17/2018 12:51 PM MDT

Share this article

Minority Report

In an age of austerity, and a climate of fear about child abuse, perhaps it is unsurprising that social workers have turned to new technology for help.

Local authorities – which face spiralling demand and an £800m funding shortfall – are beginning to ask whether big data could help to identify vulnerable children.

Could a computer program flag a problem family, identify a potential victim and prevent another Baby P or Victoria Climbié?

Years ago, such questions would have been the stuff of science fiction; now they are the stuff of science fact.

Bristol is one place experimenting with these new capabilities, and grappling with the moral and ethical questions that come with them.