While it’s a given that teens love to sink ludicrous amounts of piss, some will let go of the habit as they move towards adulthood, whereas some will become problem drinkers. There’s never been any reliable way to predict who’s who – until now, at least.
Slate reports that a group of researchers from University College, Dublin, claim to have created a computer program that can predict, with around 70% accuracy, whether teens will turn into binge drinkers.
A team, led by research scientist Robert Whelan, taught a computer to identify certain key risk factors involved with binge drinking, balancing more than 40 behavioral, biological and environmental traits.
They applied their test to a group of 14-year-olds, then checked in with them again two years later, to discover that their software had predicted binge drinking behaviour correctly in more than two thirds of cases.
Underage drinking is a huge problem in Ireland, so the researchers had no problem finding drunken youths to participate. It is hoped that the program will serve as a predictive model to allow early intervention for potential problem drinkers.
As of right now, kids don’t need to worry that they’ll be called to their guidance counselor’s office to sit through a barrage of questions – at the moment, the test is dependent on data gathered from brain scans, which can be quite expensive.
However, Whelan did say, somewhat ominously, that he and his researchers are hoping to refine their software further, with a view to gathering data from social media in order to determine which teens are at risk of binge drinking.
In the future, in addition to creepily manipulating your emotions without you realising, Facebook may also be intervening in your binge drinking before it happens.
Minority Report is fucking happening, you guys. Prepare to start running like Tom Cruise.